An excerpt from Cancer What You Need to Know. Treating cancer means taking care of the whole patient -- the physical, the emotional, and the spiritual. This starts at diagnosis and carries through treatment and beyond. Unfortunately, for some patients, cancer does find ways to spread that can cause physical pain, ...

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"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Will Durrant, historian For better or worse, all of my high school English teachers were memorable. Each held a precise but non-overlapping image of the perfectly crafted essay; therefore, every September I found myself adopting a brand new writing style. A paper that would have garnered an “A” at the end of one school year routinely received ...

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America’s opioid crisis is getting worse. The role of prescription opioids has both the medical establishment and the government justifiably worried. In response, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine released an official report on the crisis earlier this year. And, on September 21, the National Academy of Medicine released a special publication calling clinicians to help combat the crisis. As a ...

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STAT_Logo I’m a physician, a husband and dad, a guy who tries to live by the golden rule. But sometimes I’m an escort into sadness and despair, plunging families into the darkest emotional depths with the news I must give.

One particular case from years prior stands out. Mary (whose name and identifying details have ...

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In a terrible twist of fate, the very day that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospice Compare website went live, I found myself in a pulmonologist’s office with my parents, taking in the news of my mother’s advanced cancer and malignant pleural effusion. The shock of it, and the uncanny timing are beyond comprehension. You see, I’ve been leading research at RTI International and ...

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Nothing seemed to help the patient — and hospice staff didn’t know why. They sent home more painkillers for weeks. But the elderly woman, who had severe dementia and incurable breast cancer, kept calling out in pain. The answer came when the woman’s daughter, who was taking care of her at home, showed up in the emergency room with a life-threatening overdose of morphine and oxycodone. It turned out she was high ...

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We all practice medicine for different reasons. Of course, it’s almost reflexive to say we practice medicine because we care about people. I’m sure this is true for many physicians. However, if I were being honest, I think I went into medicine more because of the educational challenge. In addition, the profession yielded respect, status, money (back in the day!) and yes, an opportunity to help. I won’t challenge my ...

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Charlie Gard was a one-year-old boy who had a rare genetic disease leaving him blind, comatose, and unable to breathe on his own. This metabolic disorder can be fatal and has no known cure. Charlie’s parents wanted him treated with experimental drugs in the hope that a miracle would happen. As reported in the press, the British medical and legal community considered this care futile and blocked ...

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Sheila’s jaw is clenched. Sweat is beading on her forehead. I make a slow audible inhale, non-verbally inviting her to do the same. We’ve been talking about the nightmares which started shortly after she began receiving help with personal care. I remind her that she is safe — the day she was raped is decades in the past. Her conscious mind knows this, of course, but for people with posttraumatic ...

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My partner Judith had pain in her sinus cavity caused by a tumor called a plasmacytoma. After her biopsy, her surgeon called Friday afternoon with the results. She asked him to wait fifteen minutes until I could be home with her to get the news. He had no flexibility and said he could speak either then or Monday. She chose to speak with him then on the phone still alone. ...

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