Last week a patient said to me, "You live your whole life thinking you're going to have time to enjoy life later on, and then this happens." Then he started to cry because we had just reviewed his recent CT scans and some of his lab results and he had a new diagnosis of a type and stage of cancer that meant he likely had about eight months to live. ...

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A baby’s smile reflects the purity in their heart.   An infant’s world is a marvelous place of possibility and love.   Children see themselves as special, capable, even omnipotent.   Time teaches failure, loss, and mortality.  How much we lose of that original perfection, that first excitement, that natural confidence, determines how we face the challenges and tragedies of life; whether we will be happy.  It may even determine how we cope ...

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Today’s article highlights the lingering problem of physicians buying and selling prescription medications to patients -- at a profit. The medical profession has struggled with this controversial practice  for more than 150 years. In George Eliot’s 1874 novel “Middlemarch,” an idealistic young doctor named Tertius Lydgate questions the ethics of fellow physicians who make handsome profits prescribing and dispensing their own remedies to the townsfolk. His medical colleagues shun him for it. Around ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, August 15, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. NSAIDs May Slow Breast Ca in Obese Women. Obese women with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer had a 52% lower risk of recurrence when they regularly used aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  2. Mix of Kudos and Caution for Fecal DNA Test. Approval and imminent Medicare coverage of a ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, August 13, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. CT Images Can Inform Clinical Decisions. The identification of high-risk plaque features using noninvasive CT imaging is a useful and independent predictor of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) in patients presenting to emergency departments with acute chest pain.
  2. Status of Spray Sunscreens Still Uncertain. The FDA has not reached a ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, August 11, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. Psoriasis Ups Risk of Cancer, Serious Infection. Rates of malignancy among patients with psoriasis outpaced national averages, irrespective of therapy in most cases.
  2. Psoriasis: Screen for Fatty Liver Before MTX? What began as a case of chronic plaque psoriasis has evolved into consideration of routine testing for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis ...

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I am so sorry I didn’t make this different for youThe telephone message arrived in my EMR’s inbox. A patient’s daughter had called and wanted to ask some questions about her mother. Her mother, Louise (name changed), had died about two weeks before. I hesitated before calling her, recalling her mother’s cancer course. Louise had been diagnosed with cancer at a relatively young age, in her late 40s. She received curative chemotherapy ...

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At the critical time when our nation has made meaningful and measurable progress against colorectal cancer incidence, threats to reimbursement for colonoscopy screening for Medicare beneficiaries are looming, which may jeopardize the effectiveness of public health strategies to increase screening and prevention of colorectal cancer in the U.S. New data from the American Cancer Society indicate that colorectal cancer has declined by 30% in just the last decade among those aged 50 ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, August 8, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. Ain't No Sunshine in This Act. Robert Harbaugh, MD, just wanted to do the right thing.
  2. Gut Bacteria May Aid Testing for Colon Cancer. Analysis of gut bacteria in stool samples improved detection of colon cancer or precancerous polyps by fives times compared with a standard fecal occult blood ...

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Today its time to say, Ultraviolet bad“Ultraviolet bad.” That was the core message that came out of the introduction this morning of the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer at a meeting held at the National Press Club in Washington DC. There were some other messages that now raise skin cancer awareness and prevention high on the public health awareness list, such as ...

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