Do you know what it’s like to sit in a meeting and learn that something you hold close as a fundamental principle is probably not as fundamentally true as you thought? That’s the way I felt earlier this week while attending a meeting on the quality of pharmaceuticals, sponsored by the Food and Drug Administration and Duke University’s Margolis Center for Health Policy. The meeting—a 
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That’s the question that will be on the minds of many as the Food and Drug Administration releases a second study on the absorption of sunscreens. The reality is that answering the “safe” question is becoming more complicated—and more important as well, given the fact that so many of us use sunscreens as part of our own sun safety efforts, while others (me included) use sunscreen as part of our daily ...

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In a world where, in a moment, I can order from thousands of items and have them delivered to my doorstep the same or next day at the press of a button without having to re-enter my name, address, and billing information each time, it would seem that filling out paper forms at the doctor’s office by hand to have someone else re-enter the information into a computer that doesn’t ...

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Here is some news about cancer that isn’t widely known and is hiding in plain sight: Deaths from melanoma -- a skin cancer that has lethal potential -- have declined dramatically over the past several years. And while that fact alone is surprising, so is the reason behind the drop. Let’s make something clear at the outset: too many people die from melanoma. It is not the ...

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I want to share some thoughts about artificial intelligence, or as I prefer to call it “data analytics.” Fundamentally: How can we capture the capability of analytics to improve the care and outcomes of cancer patients? And more importantly: How can we harness this technology to help bring back the human touch in cancer care? Admittedly that’s a large focus covering lots of opportunities. Speak to one expert, and you will ...

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Reading the headlines in the morning newspaper lately can downright depressing. It was with that feeling that I recalled three conversations I had recently with people who have various cancers. And I realized that despite all the chaos around us, maybe it’s time to say something in praise of hope. Hope is very real, especially when you or a loved one or someone you know is diagnosed and treated for cancer. Hope ...

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Words have meaning. And when it comes to cancer, especially advanced cancer, there aren’t many words that have more meaning than the word “cure.” It is that very word and concept that is top of mind for some of us these days. We clinicians are guilty as charged when it comes to reluctance declaring those who have had a remarkable response to treatments for advanced cancer “cured.” Experience has taught us ...

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What if I told you our children were being exposed to a known carcinogen, and it was increasing with successively younger kids? If that carcinogen were a preservative in packaging or chemicals from industrial waste, there would be widespread outcry. But it’s neither of those things. It’s something far more dangerous, but that we’ve somehow accepted as no big deal. But the risk is very real. The carcinogen is excess ...

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The news that Alex Trebek has advanced stage IV pancreatic cancer has been met with an outpouring of support and good wishes, as would be expected for someone who has been a part of our lives for so many years. The fact is, pancreatic cancer is a difficult disease to treat effectively. That is due in no small part to the fact that -- as the case with ...

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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 of the most common cancers, significant ...

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The headline scrolling across the bottom of an evening news show certainly grabbed my attention: a new blood test had the possibility of detecting early melanoma and saving thousands of lives. And then there were more reports elevating this early research report to a point that I became quite interested -- and frankly concerned. News flash: The research is far from being shown to have proven value in the early diagnosis of ...

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A recent news story in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reminds me that lots of things in our lives are changing these days, not the least of which is the shape of our bodies. Oh, my. This aging thing isn’t so easy, and that is really the message behind Rita Rubin’s timely piece about shifting body mass and muscle as we age and its implications. Although focused ...

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The approval by the Food and Drug Administration of 23andMe’s BRCA test is bound to create a discussion about the merits and pitfalls of direct to consumer genetic testing for cancer risk. It is also going to add fuel to a growing fire about how we as a nation assess genetic risks for cancer, and whether society is prepared for what is inevitably going to become a ...

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That’s the question sticking in my mind after reading a recent report about a local radiology practice opening a large mammography center in an upscale shopping mall in Long Island, New York. Let’s face it: Medical care is changing. And with changes come new ideas. Some will work, some won’t. The thought of getting a mammogram while on a shopping trip may just be what the doctor ordered ...

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I am devoted to my fitness tracker, having used it for several years to remind me to be active, monitor my diet and improve my sleep. Now The New York Times tells me it doesn’t make a difference, at least when it comes to the weight loss part of the program. And I might agree if only the evidence they relied on told the whole ...

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After years of declining rates of colorectal cancer (CRC), a study from the American Cancer Society raises the specter that not all is going as well as we would have hoped, especially among younger folks born since 1990. And that raises the question of what the future holds for this frequently preventable form of cancer, ...

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Sometimes It’s important to know the news behind the news: the comments and the cautions that don’t get into the article that the public gets to read. It’s the sort of thing that keeps me up at night: trying to convey the reality, while realizing what most people want to hear is the hope. That’s the problem I have with a story posted on a major news network website ...

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4.9 million — yes, million — people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year in the United States. It costs an estimated $8.1 billion —with a “B — to treat those skin cancers, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Do I have your attention? I hope so. The problem is we don’t have enough attention. There is no other way to ...

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Are you a baby boomer? Have you been tested for hepatitis C virus (HCV)? Do you know why you should be tested for hepatitis C? Do you even know what hepatitis C is? According to research published by my colleagues from the American Cancer Society in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the odds are overwhelming that if you are in the boomer generation you ...

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A report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that too few women with recently diagnosed breast cancer and at high risk of a BRCA genetic mutation received appropriate genetic counseling. And that testing for the mutation is a missed opportunity not only to improve treatment for these patients but also to prevent some breast,
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