There are two versions of “the conversation” we have with men: One is for teenage boys, and it is about wet dreams, sexually transmitted disease, unwanted pregnancy and at one point also about testicular self-examinations. Those have now been edited out of the script, which makes sense to me since I have seen only three cases of that in forty years of practice, all but a couple of them diligently ...

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STAT_LogoDuring my training to become a primary care physician, the importance of preventive cancer screening was ingrained in me. The idea of catching cancer at an early stage so we can better treat it made intuitive sense. But as I’ve learned over the years, the simplicity of this concept can obscure its limitations and make it difficult ...

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Doctors and policy wonks hear a lot these days about “low-value care.” What exactly is that, and should you care? The term refers to tests, medications, and procedures that add little to a patient’s health or well-being but which cost them or the system more money than any benefit warranted. Some of the earliest research that looked at this was done at Dartmouth, where they found enormous variations in the cost ...

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Hey there, Dr. Brown. Just wanted to send a little note to warn you that I’m coming to see you soon for my yearly “checkup.” You and I both know that this is my annual opportunity to spew all of my worries on you and for you to reassure me that I’m not dying. Have you blocked at least an hour for me? I’ve got a boatload of random symptoms that ...

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Being a first-generation college student is hard. Being a first-generation college student and being pre-med is even harder. And since education and income are closely linked in the U.S., it's no surprise that many first-generation college students also come from a low-income background. I fell into this category. My parents did not finish high school, and money was always tight. I had never heard of pre-med until I got to college. I ...

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How do you respond when patients with a good prognosis want to delay chemotherapy to try an anticancer diet for a few months or visit an unregulated clinic for unproven therapies? I’m asking because of an alarming finding of ASCO’s 2018 National Cancer Opinion Survey: “Nearly 4 in 10 Americans believe cancer can be cured solely through alternative therapies ...” Clearly, we have a problem in today’s discussion about cancer treatments. ...

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An excerpt from What Does It Feel Like to Die?: Inspiring New Insights into the Experience of Dying. People who are diagnosed with a fatal disease sometimes do more than cope. They grow. They repair or strengthen relationships. They find a deeper spirituality or meaning in the life that remains ...

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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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Exercising good judgment can mean the difference between life or death. Life can be unforgiving of the choices we make. As we all know, many life events are beyond our control and understanding. But, there is much we can do to shape our paths to a brighter destination. Consider some of the choices listed below that many folks make every day. Are any of them familiar to you?

I, like many physicians, am the only doctor in my extended family. To say that they are proud is probably an understatement. I’ve been a practicing physician for seven years now and yet my grandmother each time I see her greets me with, “There’s my doctor grandson.” I have worked quite hard to get to where I am, and I enjoy what I do. I, too, am proud to be the ...

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