asco-logoEvery so often I see a patient who views cancer as a constant threat to be handled. The cancer becomes so significant that she feels she can never let her guard down. I always worry about this -- partly because that singular focus on fighting cancer can sometimes detract one from other aspects of life, and those facets that give ...

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medpagetodayFrom MedPage Today:

  1. Kid's Asthma Not Linked to Maternal SSRIs in Pregnancy. Children whose depressed mothers took newer antidepressants while pregnant were not at increased risk of childhood asthma.
  2. Menopausal HT Not Tied to Greater Death Risk. Hormone therapy in postmenopausal women was not linked to a significant effect on all-cause mortality, ...

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A 75-year-old woman with progressive constipation. An 82-year-old man with unexplained anemia. A 39-year-old mother of two with intermittent blood in her stool. These are three of my patients. And sadly, they are three of nearly 150,000 Americans diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year. March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month for good reason. In the United States, colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer. It is also the ...

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medpagetodayFrom MedPage Today:

  1. Flu Vaccine: A Matter of Time. The flu vaccine was about 23% effective this season.
  2. Supreme Court Spars With Both Sides in Subsidies Case. The Supreme Court pummeled both sides with questions during Wednesday's oral arguments over the fate of the subsidies granted to people enrolling in health insurance ...

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March is colon cancer awareness month.  We have made tremendous strides in the fight against cancer especially colon cancer. Between 1991 and 2011, U.S. cancer death rate decreased by 22 percent (1.5 million lives saved), and colon cancer death rate decreased by almost 50 percent. This decrease coincides with widespread adoption of colorectal cancer screening particularly colonoscopy. Despite this progress, colon cancer is still the 2nd leading cause of cancer death in ...

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Cancer patients depend on denial.  Without its protection, we would be overwhelmed by terror.  Denial filters and slows bad news, so we can digest reality in the merciful morsels; thus, we cope.  Without denial, we would shut down, withdraw, and lose hope; healing would not be possible.  However, if we do not move beyond denial, accept the diagnosis and loss, make a plan, we die. Allen, a 43-year-old man, came to ...

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The high cost of health care in the United States in part relates to how clinicians are paid. Performing expensive and often risky procedures simply pays better than engaging patients in a shared decision-making conversation. Shared decision-making (SDM) is a process where clinicians and patients educate each other about treatment options, risks and benefits, and preferences, and then they decide on the best approach together. Patient decision aids can assist ...

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“I had no idea how much cancer sucks.” My patient’s observation seems silly, basic.  Of course, cancer sucks.  It maims, humiliates and kills.  It takes.  What made the statement remarkable was its source.  This is not a medically naïve person, waiting to die. Rather it was spoken by a patient in complete remission, likely cured, who is an expert in cancer care.   To her amazement, it changed life forever. I think that ...

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The president's proposed Precision Medicine Initiative, as mentioned in his recent State of the Union address suggests it's probably time to get ready for some changes in our daily routines as health professionals. I'm not talking about the incredible information that has already been produced by researchers examining the human genome. Nor am I referring to the work that is going on in major cancer centers and elsewhere exploring how to better ...

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asco-logoMom. Dad. Happy. Sad. Friend. Trust. I remember playing this game. A friend would say one thing, and then I would say the first thing that came to my mind. For some reason, it would pass the time. I remember how some words would spark an emotion or a memory. Sometimes happy, sometimes not so happy. But, playing that game was one of ...

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