My daughter's biggest fear before starting kindergarten was would she have enough time to finish her lunch in the time allotted. Luckily, she is not a busy medical oncologist in clinic. A medical clinic is not set up for those who take their time. Modern medicine is predicated that within a fifteen-minute visit, you are expected to see the patient, address their issues, place orders, and come up with a ...

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asco-logo “So, what's your story?” I knew right away what the medical oncologist was really asking. She and I were meeting for the first time while caring for a mutual patient. While getting to know each other, she asked me if I had children; when I answered in the affirmative, she asked me, “So, what's your story?” The question meant many things ...

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asco-logo Many of the couples that I see in my practice grow closer after the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. I describe it as being forged by the searing flames of this dreaded disease. First, comes the terror of the diagnosis and the fear of losing one’s love. I see it in the eyes of the women and men as they sit ...

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asco-logo I believe in miracles. That might sound odd coming from an oncologist --especially since our field is driven by the data. Our path forward continues to be built through trials and the collaboration between clinicians and patients, working together to forge a better way to treat cancer. I certainly believe in evidence, but still … I believe in ...

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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is one of the most beloved stories of all time. It is a classic story with a theme that resonates as we end the year and commence a new one. The story revolves around the main character examining his past, present, and future. He realized that key events have shaped his life and turned him into the man he is. Before the story ends, ...

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The most exciting and difficult part of my job is keeping up with all the rapid changes occurring in the field of cancer treatments.  It is amazing how each day there seems to be a breakthrough treatment coming along, shifting old cancer paradigms.  Although this is a good problem to have, finding time to stay current is easier said than done.  Even more difficult is making sure we can explain these ...

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It was recently pointed out that one of my partners had made an error in a patient’s electronic hospital chart. Did I want to correct the mistake? Curious, I looked at the computer screen. There in 12-point-black-on-white Cambria was the culprit documentation. The words were: “Our therapy goal is palliative. Prognosis is good.” Now, this was clearly not what the author had intended. In common practice when someone is so sick that ...

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You will probably never meet me in person. Your name will be on the bill my insurance receives from the hospital. Your signature will be on the line after the end of the report as you mumble report after report into the system. You will never know my story. I am my organs to you; organs will anomalies that you have to squint and sometimes lean back to look for.  You ...

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asco-logo Ten years ago, I first met this patient, newly diagnosed with intermediate-risk prostate cancer. As I walked into the examination room, I was struck by the juxtaposition of his wife, crumpled in a chair and weeping silently, with the patient himself, pacing the 12'-by-4' room with a look of either anger or frustration. This difference in response between the man and ...

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I remembered staring at the computer screen with the radiologist hoping that by staring at the images, they would change in some way. It did not seem fair that a nice lady that I was evaluating in the emergency room would be consigned to such tragic images. I was rotating through the emergency room during my second year of residency, and one of the patients had come in just for ...

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