If you think that you might have the flu, don’t head to the emergency room at the first sign of fever. Emergency departments were created to handle emergencies – heart attacks, strokes, severe trauma, and other life-threatening emergencies. No matter how awful it feels, the flu typically doesn’t fall into this category – unless you are in a high-risk category for complications. This includes children younger than 2, adults over 65, ...

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Part 4 of a series. By the time my father’s metastatic prostate cancer was diagnosed, he was already experiencing symptoms of poor appetite and weight loss, which grew progressively worse following his first hospital admission. As his nutritional status continued to decline, the protein level in his blood decreased, causing significant fluid buildup in his legs and abdomen. During his hospital stays, we consulted with dietitians who created individualized ...

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“Personalized” medicine sounds appealing. Rather than just guessing at what medication to try, a genetic test can figure out, in advance, which medications will be effective and which medications are more likely to make you sicker. Except it doesn’t work. It’s mostly marketing and hype. The FDA has officially warned consumers and physicians that genetic tests sold to predict patient responses to medications shouldn’t be used. They’re not FDA approved, and ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 65-year-old woman is evaluated during a routine examination. She was diagnosed with a cardiac murmur in early adulthood. She is active, healthy, and without symptoms. She takes no medications. On physical examination, vital signs are normal. A grade 3/6 holosystolic murmur preceded by multiple clicks is present at the ...

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asco-logo The woman waiting to see me looked every inch a lawyer or accountant in her black pencil skirt, pink shirt, and a Chanel-style houndstooth jacket. Her ankle boots were reminiscent of those worn by women in Victorian times with a row of small buttons up the side. She had a scarf loosely knotted around her shoulders, and her hair was ...

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I want to share how the era of immunotherapy, specifically immune-checkpoint-inhibitors, has changed the landscape of community oncology practice in metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer, for oncologists and, more importantly, patients. I want to tell you the story of Joe. A stage IV lung cancer survivor story. (Name and details changed to protect anonymity.) In 2015, Joe was diagnosed with stage IV non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), adenocarcinoma. He had multiple metastases to other organs. ...

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Part 3 of a series. Patients with advanced cancer are particularly vulnerable to infection due to a compromised immune system. Moreover, the typical symptoms of serious infection, such as fever and chills, may be absent in cancer patients. If not identified and treated early, infection can lead to sepsis, a life-threatening reaction of the immune system that causes organ failure, shock, and death, as ...

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Good news is always welcome, especially when talking about something as serious as cancer. And there is plenty of welcome information in the American Cancer Society’s release of our annual report on "Cancer Statistics, 2019" and its accompanying consumer-oriented version of "Cancer Facts & Figures 2019." Among the good news in this report: A significant decline in death rates from cancer -- especially among some ...

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I have known him for over thirty years. He has been legally blind for the past five. He tends to be a practical, no-nonsense man. The other day, he seemed restless and very concerned as he lowered his voice and said: “I don’t want you to come to the conclusion that I’m crazy, but I’m seeing things,” he began. “I’m seeing children with elfin faces …” His large, thin hands were in ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 56-year-old woman is evaluated during an appointment to establish care. She has a developmental delay, and she is known to have pulmonary hypertension due to a congenital cardiac condition. There is no history of cardiac surgery. She is on low-dose aspirin and thyroid replacement therapy. On physical examination, blood ...

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