By now, most readers already know that Senator John McCain has been diagnosed with a brain tumor -- specifically, a glioblastoma.  I take no pleasure is suspecting such a diagnosis, as I wrote a few days ago, based on a bit of medical logic and observation rather than what the media reported. This is a devastating diagnosis for the senator and his family, not the blood clot initially described, ...

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asco-logoI had never met the man, but from a brief reading of the notes in his medical record, I knew that this was not going to be easy. Thirty years old with stage III kidney cancer, the notes showed a long history of missed appointments and late arrivals. I had been asked to talk to him about sperm banking and so ...

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On a recent visit to DC, I found myself feeling inspired; regardless of your politics, it’s almost impossible not to. At each monument, museum, memorial, and government building, I stood in awe of the boldness, faith, hope, and determination of our founding fathers and their unwavering belief in the future success of their American experiment. So many of these sites are inscribed with famous quotes from leaders who inspired generation ...

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"Medicine is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability." - Sir William Osler Two people presented to my clinic on the same day with classic symptoms of head and neck cancer. Each reported several weeks of unilateral throat discomfort, ear pain, and a neck mass. Each was having some trouble swallowing and had changed his diet to accommodate the soreness. When they opened their mouths, each had a mass with a ...

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Recently I found myself sitting in my car in the parking lot of my clinic, unable to will myself to open the door. I didn’t want to head into the clinic that morning. Instead, I was filled with despair; overwhelmed with the events of the world. How can I do it? I thought. How can I walk in there and summon the energy to see my patients? An even worse thought: Why should ...

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I see more and more patients decline to participate in clinical trials. Simultaneously, I hear patient advocates on the national stage clamoring for better trial access. Why the disconnect? Let’s explore 7 reasons why clinical trial participation is right for you: 1. The smartest minds in medicine designed this for you. Clinical trials are not designed by one doctor on the fly. Most oncology drugs have been studied for at least six years ...

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When Martina Wood received a diagnosis of stage 2 breast cancer, she was scared for her life. She also wanted answers to her questions about the disease and how to best move forward with her treatment. Seventy percent of all patient care decisions are based on a pathologist’s diagnosis, and yet most patients have never met the physicians responsible for guiding their treatment. Follow Martina on her journey for ...

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When a child is diagnosed with cancer, overwhelmed parents and patients are often laser-focused on the path to cure. Even though parents do not welcome pain or discomfort for their child, they may feel that symptoms are a necessary cost of curative care. Likewise, it is easy for us, as pediatric oncologists, to accept symptoms and side effects of treatment as normal. Important new research challenges this assumption and challenges ...

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asco-logoIn 2017, results of a study were published in JAMA suggesting women are better doctors than men. While I celebrated the acknowledgment for myself and my female physician peers, it prompted me to reflect on how my gender impacts how I practice medicine. Reflection kept bringing me back to a simple truth: my ...

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The answer reflected off of her face, and I knew my news would be no surprise. Nonetheless, the lump in my throat grew as I hesitated to tell her the latest we found on her recent scans. The fact that this was a recurrence of a previous cancer and she dealt with this inhumanity in the past also did not make it any easier. It was then that Mrs. B spoke up, ...

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