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, ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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The Abnormal Prostate In this Medcomic, we’ll visualize three common abnormalities of the prostate.  Let’s meet our new friends. On the left is Burney and he could certainly benefit from a trial of antibiotics and an analgesic. The large fellow in the middle straining to urinate goes by the name of Turp. On the far right is Grampa Addy, currently dealing with the ...

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asco-logo Every month or two I see a patient, usually a man with prostate cancer, who is concerned that if he has intercourse with his spouse, he will give her cancer. The question is asked with sincerity, and I can see the worry in the man’s eyes. His spouse is often equally worried but she often looks embarrassed too, almost as ...

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The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) was created by the federal government in 1984 to provide recommendations to primary care practitioners on the scientific efficacy of screening. In 2010, the federal government linked USPSTF recommendations with national healthcare policy when the Affordable Care Act mandated free coverage by Medicare and private insurance for all screening exams that receive a USPSTF recommendation of A or B.  The ...

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