Recently, the clinically positive results from the CLEOPATRA oncology trial were released, showing that pertuzumab, when added to docetaxel and trastuzumab as first-line chemotherapy, produces an average survival benefit of 15.7 months in HER2 positive breast cancer patients. That good news notwithstanding, the authors calculated that Genentech’s price for adding pertuzumab to gain one quality adjusted life year is a breathtaking $713,219. In dry academic language, the ...

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CHEST_sig_horiz_PMS-TMIn the past year, the CHEST Foundation, the foundation of the American College of Chest Physicians, has created public service announcements and surveyed fans at sporting events such as the Daytona 500, Green Bay Packers football games, and the Indy 500. We’ve asked them questions about lung cancer, and the answers we’ve received aren’t too surprising. When asked, “What is the ...

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Diagnostic tests such as CT scans are not perfect. A test can make two errors. It can call a diseased person healthy: a false negative. This is like acquitting a person guilty of a crime. Or a test can falsely call a healthy person disease: a false positive. This is like convicting an innocent person of a crime that she did not commit. There is a trade-off between false ...

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Evey: “You did this to me? You cut my hair, you tortured me … you tortured me!” V: “You said you wanted to live without fear. I wish there was an easier way, but there wasn’t.” – V For Vendetta A month ago I logged into my medical record to check the results of a PET scan part of a neurologic workup my oncologist ordered. I had called his office about the results, but as the end ...

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Cancer drugs have become increasingly expensive in recent years. No one blinks anymore when a new lung cancer or colon cancer treatment comes to market priced at more than $100,000 per patient. In part, we don’t blink because we have simply gotten used to such prices -- the shock has worn off. Moreover, many of these new treatments are targeted therapies that only work for patients whose cancers express specific mutations, ...

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asco-logo One afternoon, I was seated in front of my computer working when a ping came through, notifying me of a message delivered on Twitter. I stopped what I was doing and scrolled through Twitter and then checked my message. It was from someone I had never met in real life (“IRL,” in social media), though I felt we had ...

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Even though I have had health insurance continuously since finishing training, I found the costs of illness significant. So that the costs of care cancelled my income for working nearly half a year. No wonder so many people have gone bankrupt due to health care expenditures. This was a major impetus for health care reform and the Affordable Care Act. Fortunately for me, my savings and those left me by my ...

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shutterstock_90932108 asco-logo I have written about the support that a partner/spouse provides to someone living with cancer -- with prostate cancer and for young adults with cancer -- and I always include the partner in discussions about treatment choice or sexual difficulties. But a number of my older patients are single, and their experiences ...

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On the business side of health care, doctors are at a disadvantage. Because of their training, or lack therein, and native personality, they often fail to understand the realities of the market place, take confrontation personally and are suckers for an aggressive sales pitch. They feel that their motives are pure and because they sacrifice themselves and their families, over many years, they should receive respect and success. “I build ...

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What is not to like about medical marijuana? It treats pain, vomiting, fatigue, anxiety, depression, insomnia, seizures, muscle spasms, Crohn’s disease and allows many cancer patients to resume remarkably normal lives. It is not addictive. It does not interact with other medicines. It acts quickly and is easy to adjust. It can be consumed in numerous ways. It is safer than essentially any other drug: 1,500 Tylenol deaths in the ...

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