Can narrative medicine inform quality of care? As characterized by Dr. Rita Charon in her JAMA article almost 15 years ago, narrative medicine is “the ability to acknowledge, absorb, interpret, and act on the stories and plights of others.” It is the recognition that scientific knowledge alone is not enough -- not enough for our patients, for ourselves, and for society. It stresses the importance of not only hearing what our ...

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Dont forget those where cancer screening didnt make a differenceI had the opportunity recently to participate in a Twitter chat on the topic of colorectal cancer awareness. The chat was intended to bring attention to a nationwide campaign called "80 by 2018" designed to increase colorectal cancer screening rates to 80% of the population over the next 4 years. If it is successful, we should see a decline in both incidence ...

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Allow me to describe a recent case and ask your opinion.  Today, you are the intake nurse at hospice and you are asked to evaluate Stan.  This gentleman has incurable cancer, but treatment would probably prolong his survival.   However, Stan has refused that treatment and been referred to you.  It is your job to decide if he is “hospice appropriate.” Why has Stan refused therapy?  It is not that he denies ...

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I was working side-by-side with a Kenyan ENT doctor at his hospital in Eldoret, Kenya. My wife, Kathi, and I were part of a team of head and neck surgeons organized by Indiana University spending two weeks working with Kenyan ENT surgeons to help them build confidence to perform operations independently. In rapid sequence, we were seeing dozens of patients who had signed up to be examined and hoping to ...

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I was recently sent a link to this article entitled “Smile! You’ve Got Cancer” written by Barbara Ehrenreich.  I encourage everyone to read it. The article lives up to its striking title and more.  And I couldn’t help but respond with my perspective. So that you know where I’m coming from, my most personal encounter with cancer is that my grandmother died from cancer. I also treat people with acute ...

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“I’m so sorry, but it looks like the cancer has spread.” As I heard these words come out of my mouth, I knew that in a split second, a new reality was created in the mind of the patient that I was talking to. I looked at his face and saw that he was trying to remain strong, but in his demeanor, it was apparent that dreams were crushed and that ...

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From MedPage Today:

  1. BP Control May Cut Second Stroke Risk in Half. Stroke patients do a poor job of consistently controlling their blood pressure, but those who do may cut their risk of having another stroke in half.
  2. Debulking, IP Chemo Best for Ovarian Ca. Optimal surgical debulking and intraperitoneal (IP) adjuvant chemotherapy afforded patients with advanced ovarian cancer the best outcomes in a ...

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For years internationalists have being trying to make the argument to ordinary Americans that foreign policy matters -- that we must contend with complex issues overseas like countering terrorism while also focusing resources and energies on economic issues at home. We have posed it as a trade-off. We are making the foreign affairs case the wrong way.  Rather than argue the positive merits of trade or the negative repercussions of unchecked ...

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“I walked in a person, and out a cancer patient,” my dad said as we filed home. Crossing this threshold, we found ourselves on the other side of medicine -- the side on the exam table or gurney, as opposed to the one standing over it. As a physician I was used to the latter. This is my family’s story in our new position, and how the cost of medical care has impacted ...

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From MedPage Today:

  1. FDA Staff Doubts Colon Cancer Blood Test. FDA staff expressed serious reservations about using an investigational blood biomarker test as a colorectal cancer screen, citing poor specificity and unanswered questions about other purported advantages.
  2. Weight Gain Soon After Birth Tied to Diabetes Risk. New moms who add extra pounds to baby weight within a year of giving birth increase their risk ...

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