asco-logo We’ve come a long way from the 1940s and 1950s when men didn’t cry — not when they stubbed a toe or came back from the war and certainly not in front of strangers. In the last 20-plus years, we have seen a loosening up of the "stiff upper lip," and we now see men crying in all sorts of places. ...

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asco-logo My background in nursing has given me a perspective that many physicians don’t have. From the beginning of my career, I have valued the information that patients have provided me about the context of their lives, family, work, and beliefs. I have never cared for a knee or a prostate, but rather I have cared for a person whose life experiences ...

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asco-logo Many men experience significant erectile problems after having a radical prostatectomy, and many of the men treated by the urologists I work with eventually land in my office. We talk frankly about the quality of their erections before the surgery, what they are like now, and what they have tried to do to resolve the problems they are having. After this, ...

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asco-logo I am sensitive to language and the way we use it in health care; as the editor of the Oncology Nursing Society’s premier research journal, the Oncology Nursing Forum, and as a sexuality counselor, words are my business and the tools I use to educate, inform, and disseminate knowledge. The conversation typically goes like this: Me: “Hello, can I speak with Mr./Ms. X ...

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asco-logo The phone rang in my office one morning last week. Woman: “I received a notice of an appointment with you, and it says to bring my partner or spouse with me. This problem has nothing to do with him.” (The opening statement could just as easily be from a man, and often is.) I quickly looked up her notes in the electronic medical record ...

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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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asco-logo I run a dilator program for women with rectal or anal cancer where I educate patients about the need for and correct use of vaginal dilators to mitigate the effects of radiation on the vaginal wall. Many women don’t understand the need for dilators after radiation for this cancer, so I always start with a description of the anatomy and ...

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asco-logoWhen is an advocate not an advocate? When should a spouse step back and let the husband make a treatment decision? When should an adult child of a man with prostate cancer let their father decide what is best for him? These are questions that, fortunately, I don’t have to ask all that often. Most men I see for prostate cancer ...

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asco-logoWe have all seen patients whose distress is off the charts, or off the Distress Thermometer (NCCN). They sit in our offices, dazed and seemingly so depressed that we ask the mandatory question: “Are you thinking of hurting yourself?” Some patients just shake their head, not making eye contact, and even though they say they aren’t going to hurt ...

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shutterstock_90932108 asco-logo I have written about the support that a partner/spouse provides to someone living with cancer -- with prostate cancer and for young adults with cancer -- and I always include the partner in discussions about treatment choice or sexual difficulties. But a number of my older patients are single, and their experiences ...

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asco-logo My patient mix comes in waves -- some months it is mostly women with breast cancer struggling with adjuvant endocrine therapy or men in the aftermath of surgery for prostate cancer. These past two months, it has been young adults, and my heart has taken a beating. There is something quite different from my perspective between talking to a ...

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shutterstock_216645019 asco-logo We all have our fair share of so-called “difficult” patients. And, I would suggest that how we define “difficult” is as diverse as we are as health care providers and as individuals. Some patients come to us with that reputation -- perhaps, a vague descriptor in a referral letter or ...

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asco-logo The patient was a young looking 74-year-old woman, accompanied by her husband. She was not exactly sure why she was seeing me and nodded as I explained that I see all women with anal or rectal cancer who are being treated with radiation therapy. I explained that we recommend that these patients use vaginal dilators to improve elasticity after ...

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shutterstock_160559990 asco-logoI recently attended the David Stroud Adolescent and Young Adult [AYA] Symposium at Keck Medicine of University of Southern California. It was a very interesting symposium with experts in adolescent and young adult cancer presenting on many different topics important for this population. There was also a panel of young adult ...

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asco-logo A friend of mine died after outliving her prognosis for more than a year. I was with her at almost all her appointments with various oncologists. She had asked me to be the note taker for these appointments so that she could focus on the discussion as it happened and then have the notes to review afterwards. Her treatment course was ...

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asco-logo I have fertility on my mind -- and it’s definitely not personal. And it’s really fertility preservation that has me thinking. I recently completed the manuscript of my 10th book -- a text for oncology care providers about the provision of psychosocial care to young adults with cancer . Writing the book was at times frustrating due to the paucity of research and ...

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asco-logo Hearing the words “you have cancer” changes everything. In my role as clinical nurse specialist in a busy prostate clinic, I see the effects of these three words on men and their families every day. The shock and disbelief, the fear and confusion as most men feel perfectly well with no symptoms at all. Many men want to do something ...

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asco-logo It’s not often that I find myself speechless. I have heard all sorts of stories in my office -- as a sexuality counselor, I am often humbled by the trust that people place in me and how much they disclose about their private lives. But one conversation I had with a patient literally made my jaw drop. The patient is a ...

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shutterstock_99691520 asco-logo As part of my role as a clinical nurse specialist in a busy prostate clinic, I see men (with their partner) as part of their decision-making process for active treatment for prostate cancer. The purpose of the appointment is for me to explain the results of their prostate biopsy, dispel any ...

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