At the age of 17, my younger sister Elisabeth noticed a change in her body — enlargement of the front of her neck. “I just thought I was building muscle from working out,” she innocently rationalized. A series of laboratory tests and imaging followed and led to a much more grave discovery — cancer. There are days my family will never forget, like the day of my sister’s diagnosis. My older ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 79-year-old man is evaluated for pain in the buttocks region. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin large B-cell lymphoma 6 months ago. Although his lymphoma has responded well to therapy and he is without evidence of active disease, he required hospitalization three times for chemotherapy-associated complications during his treatment ...

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When I was a preemie — all two-and-a-half pounds of me — my mom was understandably worried. She said her doctor wheeled her down the hall to the newborn nursery, and my mom could hear me screaming all the way down the hall. She said, “I’ve got to hand it to you. You let your voice be heard — you let your needs be known. I told her that at ...

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I’m struggling — truly struggling. This year has been beyond hard. I honestly never thought this time last year that I would be in this predicament. Things were good, I had a great job, and I was working on our fixing up our dream retirement home. We had great vacations every year. Yes, the home remodel wasn’t quite on track, but we were making progress. But then, my world fell ...

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Ethical OB/GYNs everywhere sighed heavily when they realized from the action on their Facebook and Twitter feeds that the Ellen Show broadcasted incorrect and potentially harmful information about ovarian cancer screening to almost 4 million people. Millions more will likely hear about it on social media. Ellen Pompeo, who plays a doctor on the television show Gray’s Anatomy, decided to play doctor in real life and used her celebrity platform to recommend ...

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Cancer is the enemy.   So, our immediate desire is to get rid of it, throw it away, and never hear from it again.  Current therapies that require living tissue are proving that false.   We know that your living tumor tissue is like your fingerprint, unique to each individual patient.  It contains information specific to you, your genetic make-up, your cancer and ultimately the thought is, your treatment.  If kept alive, ...

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On my first day of medical school, my father, a dentist, told me he'd just been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. Cancer had crept back into my life — except this time not into my body. At age 12, I was diagnosed with brain cancer. After an aggressive surgery, I was tumor-free for 10 years. Then, at 23, I received the news of an inoperable recurrence. While going through radiation and ...

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STAT_Logo Are my breast cancer and I on the wrong side of statistics, or just caught in the confusing and potentially devastating conflict between medical societies about when women should start breast-cancer screening? One morning more than a year ago, it didn’t seem like either. As both of my kids cuddled in bed with my husband and me, I ...

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Fifty years ago, in a golden moment of television comedy shows, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In program regularly featured “The Flying Fickle Finger of Fate” award.  Wikipedia says it “recognized actual dubious achievements by public individuals or institutions.” Do a Google search.  You’ll quickly see how popular this award became. Yes, I’m dating myself by going back 50 years.  But mine is the generation that often becomes obsessed with being given “the ...

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So much of life depends upon timing. Sure, we plan, but we know how much of our life’s events are unplanned and unexpected. So often, our jobs and our mates -- two of our most defining accomplishments -- are the result of a chance encounter or a random act. Life does not reliably proceed in an orderly manner. This is often true in the medical profession. Here, physicians in our quest ...

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