Recently, Desperate Housewives star Marcia Cross made headlines by discussing her diagnosis of anal cancer and her husband’s diagnosis of throat cancer, revealing that both had been related to the human papillomavirus, or HPV. The move was brave, as the actress broke free from the stigma related to anal cancer and sexually transmitted diseases. More importantly, it was – I hope – inspirational. HPV is something that doesn’t get nearly the publicity ...

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After nearly 40 years as an internist, Dr. Ron Naito knew what the sky-high results of his blood test meant. And it wasn’t good. But when he turned to his doctors last summer to confirm the dire diagnosis — stage 4 pancreatic cancer — he learned the news in a way no patient should. The first physician, a specialist Naito had known for 10 years, refused to acknowledge the results of the ...

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An excerpt from Mirth is God's Medicine: Coping with Cancer as a Physician. "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." - Proverbs 27:17 In the coming weeks, after the biopsy returns positive for cancer -- and after the initial shock wears off -- I am trying to plan ahead, and ...

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Coming in to meet the students, house staff, and patients for the first day on service always excites me. This Monday was no exception. What awaited me? How many patients would I need to see? What lessons could I impart? When I arrived, we had 11 patients, two new, and nine had arrived previously. Going through the list, while routine, always stimulated questions and teaching opportunities. Sometimes the team had questions ...

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The numbers are scary: The average woman has a 12 percent risk of developing breast cancer at some point in her life. For women with certain genetic mutations or risk factors, lifetime risk can climb to 85 percent. Even more terrifying than the numbers, however, are the rumors; rumors that the contrast dye used in MRIs for breast cancer screenings is harmful; rumors that are driving women away from an adjunctive ...

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Two years ago, something happened that — not to be overly dramatic — changed my life, including my everyday experience of my job as an emergency specialist. My older brother, Martin died of a rare and aggressive form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that spread despite every treatment that was thrown at it. When he was dying, I managed to unleash in myself a raging anxiety, which caught me by surprise. In the year ...

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It seems now as if every day and every month is associated with a "national day" or an "awareness month."  Some such as "national taco day" may be less important than others, well depending on one's priorities.  Although many illnesses now also have a dedicated day or month, many of these diseases will go unnoticed.  They will rarely be discussed -- that is until a celebrity or someone in the ...

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Jeanette Brown had lost twenty pounds, and she was worried. “I’m not trying,” she told me at her regular diabetes visit as I pored over her lab results. What I saw sent a chill down my spine: A normal weight, diet controlled diabetic for many years, her glycosylated hemoglobin had jumped from 6.9 to 9.3 in three months while losing that much weight. That is exactly what happened to my mother some years ...

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It was the first time the young woman had come to the health center in a suburb just north of Chicago. When the 26 year old walked into the exam room back in 2008. There was no paper chart or electronic health record (EHR) accompanying her, no background information — nothing to indicate anything but a routine annual gynecological exam. She and her husband were about to try to have their ...

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asco-logo Going through the process of diagnosis, treatment decision making, and often lengthy treatment without a partner can be challenging. While children, friends, and other family members are supportive, for the single individual, there is no one to talk to in the middle of the night when fear and doubt often surface. I often counsel people who have finished treatment for their ...

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