Late last year the New York Times reported that Dr. José Baselga, the chief medical officer of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, had resigned for failing to disclose his conflicts of interest at professional meetings and in scientific and medical journals. The Times report says that Dr. Baselga -- who also served as physician-in-chief at the center -- “had failed to disclose millions of dollars in payments from health care companies in ...

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I need to see Justin before my workday commences. I'm a social worker at the outpatient cancer center where Justin has been treated for an aggressive colon cancer. Seeing him today means visiting him in the hospital, up the road from the center. It's almost surreal. When I first met Justin, nearly two years ago, he looked every bit the linebacker — well over six feet tall, with a girth to match. A ...

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There is still a lot we don’t know about cancer. A diagnosis or even the thought of a future diagnosis can be scary. And what about your cancer risk? Many patients ask me “If a close family member has cancer, does that mean I will too?” Through hereditary cancer assessments, we are now able to give patients insight into their potential cancer risk and help ease their worries by offering preventative ...

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Most men diagnosed with prostate cancer don’t die of the disease. Between 2011 and 2015, 112.6 per 100,000 men per year were diagnosed with prostate cancer in the U.S., but only 19.5 per 100,000 men per year died of the disease over that same period of time. That is still far too many deaths. But the huge disparity between deaths and diagnoses arises in large part from overdiagnosis of prostate ...

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What is CBD? Cannabidiol or CBD for short is made from either the marijuana plant that contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or hemp which contains little to any THC. “Hemp-derived” means that the CBD generally contains less than 0.3% THC while “marijuana-derived” contains higher amounts of THC. It is THC — and not CBD — is the primary psychoactive or intoxicating component of marijuana. CBD can also be manufactured synthetically. CBD is routinely sold ...

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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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In a recent talk I gave for colleagues, I ventured outside the box. I searched for a metaphor to make cancer treatments easy to understand. Around the same time, it so happened my kids decided we needed to re-watch all of The Avengers movies at home. (In order, of course). Here’s where you get some insight into an oncologist-mom’s brain. While we watched the movies, another part of my brain cogitated on my upcoming ...

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“Please don't tell my family,” Mary (identifying information changed) immediately asked me after I disclosed the results of her lymph node biopsy and diagnosis of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. At the time, I was a first-year oncology fellow. Initially, I thought it was a normal reaction (an example of my lack of experience). I respected her wishes and only disclosed to her family that she had metastatic cancer. I ...

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A man in his fifties is wheeled into the emergency department on a gurney hoping he’ll still be around to cheer from the sidelines at his daughter’s next soccer game. A little girl on the pediatric floor upstairs simply hopes her tummy stops hurting. A woman in the clinic explains her puzzling symptoms and hopes that this is the specialist who will finally be able to ascertain why she hasn’t ...

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"Hey, you're a med student. Right?" "Yes, I am. Do you need me to scrub in?" "That would be wonderful, yes! Everyone is either out on vacation or is sick. It's just me and the resident." "OK, I'll be back in a few minutes." I was on my OB/GYN rotation, and once a week I follow one of the surgeons. It was 7:20 a.m., and a patient was coming in for an unplanned, stat ...

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