asco-logo In an era where health information is freely flowing thanks to the internet and Dr. Google, I’ve come to expect that patients who see me for the first time will have done their homework -- about their cancer, treatment options, and yes, even about me. To be frank, it’s not uncommon for patients to mention they’ve ...

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My first patient of the day has metastatic pancreatic cancer. She's had it, in fact, for two years. Getting chemo for two years. Her hair has fallen out, her pain is becoming uncontrollable and she's been in and out of the hospital. Her daughters came to the clinic with her. She is tearful. Her daughters pull me aside. "Tell her to focus on the positive," they request. I wonder if there ...

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It’s 9:30 a.m. on a Wednesday, I get on the elevator, and I hear a man in his 40s, having a conversation on his cell. He says: “He had a brain bleed yesterday, and they had to put a breathing tube in, they don’t know how much damage his brain has suffered at this point.” He gets off on the adult ICU floor. I quickly think “that sucks” and carry ...

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The American Cancer Society (ACS) recently released new guidelines regarding colorectal cancer screening for the average-risk individual. The big news is that they now recommend that screening for colorectal cancer begin at age 45 rather than age 50. This reduction in the starting age was in reaction to recent data showing that colon cancer is increasing in younger Americans for unclear reasons. By screening people at a younger age, ...

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"I feel very dizzy when standing," was Ms. A's* chief complaint. She originally came to the ER for sudden onset double vision and severe balance issues. After briefing myself, I took the stairs to the fourth floor and found her. When I arrived, Ms. A was the only person there. She was wearing a silver visor and a crisp white shirt. As a native of west Texas, she loved her BBQ, ...

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As a system, we don't invest as much time in understanding the broader context of the patient in front of us. The before/after factors that we don’t notice have a far-reaching impact on care. Recently, I shadowed a patient through a day procedure at an endoscopy center from the time that the nurse checked her weight to the time that she was discharged. Let's call her Nancy. She was 82 years old ...

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I've been practicing as an interventional pain management physician for over six years. It was a long road to get here -- four years of medical school, four years of residency in anesthesiology and one year of fellowship (in addition to the four years of undergraduate education). So people say, "You must really love what you do." Sure, during residency there was light at the end of the grueling tunnel ...

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asco-logo Perhaps one of the hardest things about medicine is cross-coverage, that is, to be the covering doctor for your partners, whether for the occasional night, weekend, or longer. It’s not something done only in oncology. All specialties in medicine have this system, which allows us to have lives outside of our hospitals and clinics. What’s ...

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Angela Harris has been here in the hospital for six hours, awaiting the results of her CT scan. I won't take responsibility for all of that wait time: complicated CT scans and labs do take a significant amount of time to perform. But she didn't need to wait the last hour. She was waiting on me — her emergency physician — because I needed to confirm her cancer diagnosis with radiology, ...

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Speeding through town, I had just dropped off a kid at football practice. I raced back to the church to drop off another kid, then drove quickly to a soccer practice for a third. At about 7:00, I start to lose my cool. I'm used to my husband being late. But tonight I was frustrated. I sat in the parking lot with two babies, strapped in their seatbelts, fidgeting and ...

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