asco-logo I was reading my emails this morning and came across one from the Foundation for Women’s Cancers, announcing September as Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month. Their social media campaign centered on the hashtag #sharethepurplelove, and the focus on clinical trial awareness and participation. It got me thinking again about the enterprise of clinical trials, and just ...

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I am not the first physician blogger to write about the difficulties of prior authorizations, denials, and appeals, but recent occurrences in my own practice have been so convoluted that I feel they must be shared. The nonsensical denials would almost cause one to laugh, if not for the reality that each denial represents potential delay in care for the patient and redundant work for the physician. That's work that expands ...

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I love breast cancer awareness month. As a breast medical oncologist, it gives me an opportunity to spread the message of how important early detection is for improving the success of breast cancer treatment. I am surprised regularly at the number of women who either are not doing mammography at all or who do it every couple of years when they remember. We know that women who are participating in ...

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During elementary school, I saw my dad mostly on weekends, because he traveled for business during the week. Between watching soccer games and running errands, he never missed an opportunity to tune the radio to Car Talk. He is an engineer with a passion for cars, and Car Talk was his Holy Grail. He would guess what was wrong before the expert hosts spoke, and he was usually right. “Aha, I knew it ...

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As an oncologist, I have spent my career learning how to break bad news. I am still not entirely sure how to tell my children about the tumor in my pancreas, why I will be gone from our home next week for a Whipple operation, or my excuse for abstaining from wrestling matches for the foreseeable future. I am blessed with two kids, temperamentally diametric: a careful, sagacious nine-year-old daughter and ...

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This article was originally presented as student remarks at the 2015 Harvard Medical School commencement.  At the end of medical school, I always return to a musing, a zen koan of sorts from Dean Jeffrey Flier. At my white coat ceremony, a close friend and current resident, Dr. Nina Gold was chatting with the dean about the heft of our newly bestowed bright white coats. He asked her, in one beautiful ...

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I've known that I've had tumors in my pancreas since 2009. Until now I've done nothing about them. This might sound like a counter-intuitive, even foolhardy strategy, especially for an oncologist, who should surely know better than to let his disease gain an advantage through his own inaction. But I don't have the "usual" type of pancreatic cancer, the kind that claimed the life of Patrick Swayze and has sentenced many ...

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“I’m getting this intense sense of responsibility. I’m going to be a doctor, I have to be a doctor. These people saved my life.” #BornToHeal Courtesy of the American Medical Association (AMA).

I have written about talcum powder previously.  Indeed, I have not only opined on the slippery substance, but I am also a regular consumer of the product.  Talcum powder has become magic legal dust that brings forth zillions of dollars to those who have been attacked by the poisonous toxin. Just last year, I informed readers of $55 million and $72 million judgments to cancer victims who used powder against ...

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I am a gynecologic-oncologist. I work in the high-stakes realm of cancer care. I strategize complex treatment plans involving surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and the newer biological agents to treat the myriad of disease that we call collectively “cancer.” Cure — or at least control — requires urgent and timely administration of these modalities along with various imaging or blood work to assure that the treatment prescribed is effective. I love ...

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