I recognized a glitch in my electronic medical record's decision support software when it prompted me to consider prostate and colorectal cancer screening in a 93-year-old man, who, though remarkably vigorous for his age, was unlikely to live for the additional 10 years needed to benefit from either test. Although deciding not to screen this patient was easy, determining when to stop cancer screening in older patients is often more ...

Read more...

Medicine can wear down our hearts and souls.  My journey in pediatrics has been filled with many rewarding experiences but haunting ones as well, like this one from my third year of residency.  By that final year of training, I was no longer certain medicine was really the right choice for me.  I was struggling with the notion that after almost 11 years of education, the destination was not quite ...

Read more...

asco-logo I have been drawn to social media (SM) both personally and professionally for many years now, but I still feel like an outlier in using it professionally. There have been ASCO education sessions on this topic, educational book articles, publications, and the like, but many of these take the approach that people don’t really understand SM and what ...

Read more...

When it comes to cancer, I'm neither physician nor patient, nor even a policy expert.  But being both a critical thinker and a feminist, I'm struck by what the juxtaposition of two seemingly unrelated new oncology studies, published in highly respected medical journals a month apart, can tell us about how gender shapes the way we perceive (or misperceive) illness, and the impact that has on patients' well-being. On April 14, ...

Read more...

I've held many hands, been generous with my hugs, and tried to treat every patient as though they were my mother. I lost my mother to leukemia almost one decade ago. I know what it's like to feel defeated by the health care system, by health care providers, by medications, and by the human body's response to all of the above. A patient will never forget a health care provider that ...

Read more...

Just three weeks earlier, she had noticed something strange about one of her breasts. An irregular shape. Her daughter brought her to the doctor, and soon the patient, I’ll call her Amanda, was diagnosed with breast cancer, stage “to be determined.” In fact, she was now in an oncologist’s office, learning what tests she would receive to determine the extent of her tumor. And sitting between her and the doctor ...

Read more...

asco-logo I was at a meeting in 2014, called the REV Forum; its objective was to rethink cancer care delivery by gathering patients, advocates, thought leaders, and entrepreneurs. Even now I am struck by some of the things I learned that day. One that stays in mind is when a woman who looked like she was in her ...

Read more...

The cancer moonshot initiative raised skepticism because of the limited funding to end cancer. Unfortunately the recently announced panel membership confirms that while the project may launch, skewed representation may tilt the mission off course. It is no surprise that the panel heavily tilts toward immunology, medical oncology, surgery and big science. But three core specialties you would find at any tumor board are missing: pathology, radiology, and radiation ...

Read more...

asco-logo “Observe, record, tabulate, communicate. Use your five senses. Learn to see, learn to hear, learn to feel, learn to smell, and know that by practice alone you can become expert." – Sir William Osler, “The Father of Modern Medicine” (1849–1919) In this modern era of oncology, the potential extent of malignant spread is staged by high-quality scans. Further, when ...

Read more...

My dad was recently diagnosed with cancer. Overnight, he found himself faced with tough care decisions, small insurance crises, and the overwhelming bureaucracy of cancer. He was also about to become tasked with managing a daily care routine far outside the scope of his usual morning ritual. Since his diagnosis, he has returned to the hospital twice with pneumonia. While many cancer patients become prone to bacterial infections due to a ...

Read more...

Most Popular