Pain is the result of a physiological series of electrical and chemical events that occur in the body. The International Association for the Study of Pain defines pain as "an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage." Pain receptors are bare nerve endings that are widely distributed throughout the body in the skin and mucous membranes. When pain receptors are ...

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The manner in which a physician communicates information to a patient is as important as the information being communicated. Patients who understand their doctors are more likely to acknowledge health problems, understand their treatment options, modify their behavior accordingly, and follow their medication schedules. In fact, research has shown that effective patient-physician communication can improve a patient’s health as quantifiably as many drugs—perhaps providing a partial explanation for the powerful placebo ...

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After my recent blog posts, I was inundated with questions regarding how I would change the way I interact with my cancer patients if I return to work.  I’ve tried to chronicle my experiences – from diagnosis to death – in hopes that you will learn how you can interact with your patients more effectively. Diagnosis There was an undeniable shock that disrupted all of the carefully-constructed systems and routines with ...

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When one partner has cancer, both partners are affected, as is their relationship.  Although cancer is a health crisis that can wreak havoc on any relationship, many marriages survive, and even flourish, after cancer. Approaching cancer as “our problem” and finding opportunities to continue to connect as a couple can help to minimize both partners’ emotional distress. It is possible to fight the battle against cancer together and to strengthen ...

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I was jogging one day while on a business trip in LA and collapsed during the run.  Within hours, I was at the hospital at UCLA Medical Center on a gurney headed for a CT scan of my abdominal cavity.  I remember telling the ER physicians that I was a doctor and recommending my own course of action.  As my advice to the ER doctors went largely ignored, I realized, ...

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