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ASCOconnection.org is a forum for the exchange of views on topical issues in the field of oncology. The views expressed in the blogs, comments, and forums belong to the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Please read the Commenting Guidelines.

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Facebook is a remarkable thing. I use it for private matters—to keep in touch with family and friends from long ago. Because of it, I’ve reconnected with people from every stage of my life, as far back as third grade to high school to college and beyond. One of the nicest things about Facebook is...
One of my favorite aspects of my job is giving Continuing Medical Education (CME) talks around the country and getting the opportunity to speak to a broad range of oncologists about what they do in practice. While I treat lung cancer patients at an academic center, traveling gives me the chance to...
Since the 1970s, we have been involved in a war against cancer. But how do military metaphors and battle imagery affect people who are trying to cope with the challenges of a cancer diagnosis? Longtime patient advocate Diane Blum explores common language used to describe cancer and its treatment.
The patient was a young looking 74-year-old woman, accompanied by her husband. She was not exactly sure why she was seeing me and nodded as I explained that I see all women with...
A few months ago, I became aware of the ongoing measles outbreak that has been traced back to visits to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, which began in December 2014. I remember reading the news reports, including the defense of those who did not believe that vaccines are safe, and witnessed the pleas...
For the past month or so, one patient after another has come in with the question, “So, what do you think about 4-MU?” or “Did you hear about poliovirus killing cancer?” Actually, I have heard next to nothing about either, but of course I was intrigued as to where my patients get their information.
She had come to my office looking to transfer her care—she and her family were relocating from the South to New England.. . .
Recognizing the needs of patients as well as doctors is essential to healthcare. We may have ideas about what those needs are, but how do we include them in decisions about healthcare reform?
That question is perhaps the most common one raised by patients facing a diagnosis of cancer for the first time. There are so many campaigns about how to “avoid” cancer: no white sugar, no chemicals, all-plant diets, regular exercise, don’t smoke, don’t drink. I can see how one can get the...
I recently attended the David Stroud Adolescent and Young Adult [AYA] Symposium at Keck Medicine of University of Southern California...
It’s hard to believe that two months have passed since my second blog. If you’ve been reading along, you know that I recently began a dialogue regarding challenges to the profession of medicine and the delivery of health care.
It was a particularly harrowing morning, and I was already running 40 minutes behind after my first couple of patients. My nurse practitioner was out, so I had added a number of her routine follow-up visits to my normal schedule, and I was having trouble keeping up.
She was so young—only 32 when diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She had given birth to a son only four months earlier and by all rights should have been celebrating being a new mother. But, instead, she had developed acute pelvic pain, undergone emergent removal of her uterus and ovaries, and was now...
For years now, we have had a raging debate in the renal cell carcinoma (RCC) community regarding the use of adjuvant therapy. In a patient with no evidence of metastatic disease following surgery, the standard...
I happened to be standing in her office when Tina, our research nurse, received an email from one of our patients. This patient had recurrent ovarian cancer and was on her third-line of treatment. She was seen at our center for clinical trials, and Tina and I had spent some time discussing one...
I received an email this week and this is all it said:  “I’m 51 years old and I was diagnosed with breast cancer 8 years ago, I love my husband very much I have no sex drive I do not want to be touched by him I hate sex it hurts is not comfortable it's not enjoyable, I have talked to my spouse...
Every so often I see a patient who views cancer as a constant threat to be handled. The cancer becomes so significant that she feels she can never let her guard down. I always worry about this—partly because that singular focus on fighting cancer can sometimes detract one from other aspects of life...
She had come to see me in consultation. A professor at a local university, she was well until four years earlier, when she developed abdominal bloating and pain—tell-tale signs of ovarian cancer. Surgery followed, then adjuvant chemotherapy with intraperitoneal treatments (“Terrible regimen,” she...

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