Take 100 patients who are candidates for colorectal screening. We know that a group of them will try to avoid the procedure or postpone it for as long as possible. Evidence of this, for example, would be rescheduling appointments multiple times to later dates. We also know that among this 100 is another group of people who need a colonoscopy more than others. A family history of cancerous polyps is a ...

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I first became John Dolan’s social worker following his colon surgery, surgery for removal of a very large cancerous tumor, the largest the experienced surgeon said he had ever seen.  John was told he had about three months to live. So much for predictions!  He lived another 16 months. To the chagrin of his very large Catholic family, he was one of thirteen children; he was all the time rejecting their ...

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I heard about you a few times before I ever met you in person. It was my first day on the palliative care service — a week that felt like a relaxing break from the sixteen-hour days I was used to on surgery. Many people don't know what palliative care is. But I suspect these days if you are still living that you know it well. I first heard of you ...

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Most new cancer treatments haven’t been proven to help patients live longer or feel better. Instead, they delay the growth of tumors — which may be faster to measure but doesn’t necessarily indicate a tangible benefit for patients. But you wouldn’t grasp that sobering fact from some recent news coverage:

  • A headline in the UK’s Telegraph about the drug olaparib (Lynparza) read: “Revolution’ in prostate cancer care as off-label ...

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"Words Kill" is a brilliant song about the perils of texting and driving. Spread the message. Courtesy of The Fever Breakers, a band made up of hospital employees. Their socially conscious songs are crafted in the basement of the hospital using a piano used for cancer patient music therapy and subsequently recorded in a studio.

An excerpt from With Mirth and Laughter: Finding Joy in Medicine After Cancer. I am sitting in the waiting area for the one year follow up appointment with my oncologist, Dr. Anne Blaes. Using the handy phone app, “How Long Ago,” I see it’s been eleven months, nine days, five ...

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Who remembers Jack Kevorkian, Doctor Death? He was found guilty in 1998 of second-degree murder. Still, it was because of his advocacy that the terminally ill patient's right to die by physician-assisted suicide was propelled into the public arena. And who can forget Brittany Maynard? It was her advocacy for physician-assisted suicide that reignited the debate on its legality in 2014 — but this ...

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At first, I thought the light was reflecting off the mirror. But no. There It was - my first gray hair. I did not expect to live to see the day. I was ecstatic! At six months old, I was diagnosed with a severe illness called thalassemia major and was incorrectly expecting to have passed by now. (Google told me so!) Yet, this year, I complete ten years beyond my ...

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As people, we often have multiple stories to tell, from different perspectives. Multiple stories and perspectives can be wed or braided together around the same themes. Here we braid together two separate perspectives of a patient author and a physician author, respectively. From both perspectives, this is a story about the power of care, cancer, and quality of life. Following my cancer diagnosis of nodal marginal zone lymphoma, I struggled with my ...

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I was a brand-new intern in the intensive care unit, and Cassandra was the very first patient I saw there. A petite, slender woman, she was rolled in on a stretcher, accompanied by her tall, athletic husband, Jack. Cassandra was in her 20s, like me — but mortally ill. That grabbed my attention from the start. But the biggest lesson she taught me came about because we got her prognosis all ...

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asco-logo I am a firm believer that medicine is best practiced as a team, with the one undergoing treatment at the center participating fully. It’s a belief embedded in the multidisciplinary care model. I have been fortunate to have been exposed to multidisciplinary clinics in my fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and have worked ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 28-year-old woman undergoes follow-up consultation regarding a pre-employment physical examination. She reports feeling well, with no recent illness. Medical history is notable for gastroesophageal reflux disease. Her only medication is omeprazole. She is black. On physical examination, vital signs and other examination findings are normal. A peripheral blood smear shows ...

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asco-logo As an oncologist, I have seen the devastating impact of being told one has cancer. The reaction I most often see among my patients is fear that they’ve been given a death sentence, an urgent need for a plan, and hope that they will survive. I often want patients to know I too sense their ...

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Storytelling is as old as humanity. In telling our stories, we share, learn, and ideally pass along wisdom. As Isak Dinesen once wrote, "To be a person is to have a story to tell." This story starts with PW's cancer diagnosis in 2009. Nodal marginal zone lymphoma: not curable, hopefully manageable. For some, cancer invites a retreat within. For others, it can be a call to action. For me, it was a ...

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asco-logo The couple that entered my office on a warm fall day seemed out of sorts. She looked nervous, and he looked irritated. Before he sat down I heard why he felt that way: “I don’t even know why we’re here.“ I explained briefly what my role is but this did not seem to clear up anything. “I just want her to be ...

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Lists guide our lives.  Some are easy, even fun, like a menu or shopping list.  Some are simple tick-offs for work, like my wife’s honey-do list.  Others are frightening, like a draft list.  Some are melancholy, such as the inventory in a Will.  We are inspired by our bucket-list.  Finally, some are exciting, but stir conflict, like a wedding invitation list.  I have a list, which makes me slightly anxious, a little depressed, and which takes modest courage to open ...

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I am a "jack of all trades" osteopath. I practiced family medicine for over nine years and am currently on a leave of absence as I fight invasive breast cancer. Once I return to medicine, I will be moving into a more specialized role in integrative medicine and osteopathic manipulation. I have also worked in urgent care. I have to get something off my chest (no pun intended — I've had ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 65-year-old man is evaluated during a visit to establish care. He is interested in colorectal cancer screening; however, he adamantly refuses to undergo colon preparation, and he does not want to modify his diet for screening. He has never undergone colorectal cancer screening. Medical and family histories are ...

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STAT_LogoHere’s some good news for a change about cancer: Cancer mortality — the rate of death from cancer — has fallen substantially over the last four decades. There is also, however, some not-so-good news: Cancer incidence — the rate of cancer diagnoses — has been rising. This doesn’t reflect increasing dangers in our environment, but a danger in ...

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asco-logoWhile it would be ideal if all of our decisions in medicine were based on clear and definitive data, that isn’t the case, for most of what we face with our patients. Data is open to interpretation, studies can always be criticized, and the results are not always clear. Still, as clinicians we must help our ...

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