Blogs

Blogs

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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I had just started the sexual health clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) when I was approached to meet with a group of prostate cancer survivors. I was hesitant at first—my interests were in female cancer survivors who had experienced sexual dysfunction. This was partly because I had...
Zeke Emanuel wrote an interesting piece in the Atlantic not so long ago on why he wanted to die at 75. It was an interesting exposé, and one that (at least at first) can take you off guard. Seventy-...
Even after so many years, I take the process of starting someone on anticancer treatment very seriously. The drugs we use can cause damage, and that damage can persist long after the end of the last planned treatment. Platinum salts can cause neuro- and nephrotoxicity. Taxanes can cause neuropathy...
I have fertility on my mind—and it’s definitely not personal. And it’s really fertility preservation that has me thinking. I recently completed the manuscript of my 10th book—a text for oncology care providers about the provision of psychosocial care to young adults with cancer.
In July 1991, I was beginning my first year of medical school in Rochester, New York. I was filled with excitement and anxiety on beginning a journey in medicine as I started on the road to becoming a doctor.
I remember when I first started in oncology; I had joined the faculty at Brown three years after fellowship and was seeing a patient* with newly diagnosed breast cancer. She was in her 40s, an advertising executive, married, with two small kids. The diagnosis was unexpected (as it usually is), with...
Hearing the words “you have cancer” changes everything. In my role as Clinical Nurse Specialist in a busy prostate clinic, I see the effects of these three words on men and their families every day. The shock and disbelief, the fear and confusion as most men feel perfectly well with no symptoms at...
An unfortunate confluence of stories has surfaced over the past few weeks. The release of data regarding compensation by pharma to physicians, required by the Sunshine Act, occurred about a week ago. The database is available for searching here...
Whenever I speak about social media, much of it has to do with Twitter. It has become part of my daily routine, much like checking email or going to news media sites. I will often “check-in” on Twitter and will respond to items of interest—whether or not tweets were sent directly to me. However, I...
I had taken care of her for years. We had faced a new diagnosis, the toxicities of adjuvant treatment, the promises of having no evidence of disease (NED as my friend, Molly refers to it), only to have it shattered with the first recurrence. Over the next three years, she had undergone treatment—...
Jyoti Patel, MD, is a medical oncologist and Cancer.Net Associate Editor for lung cancer. Due to the positive response Dr. Patel’s guest post has received on the Cancer.Net Blog, ASCO Connection wanted to make ASCO members aware of this...
Randy Pausch said in his last lecture that the brick walls were there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. I wonder, though, if we really need so many brick walls…
It’s not often that I find myself speechless. I have heard all sorts of stories in my office—as a sexuality counselor, I am often humbled by the trust that people place in me and how much they disclose about their private lives. But one conversation I had with a patient literally made my jaw drop.
I sometimes wonder what I would do if I was told I had cancer. How much would I subject myself to in order to survive, or to achieve remission? As a parent, I can answer only that I would likely go through hell and back if it meant being there for my kids—to watch them grow up, graduate high school...
As part of my role as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in a busy prostate clinic, I see men (with their partner) as part of their decision-making process for active treatment for prostate cancer. The purpose of the appointment is for me to explain the results of their prostate biopsy, dispel any...
I remember when Mrs. Waltz* was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. She had only felt some back pain which she attributed to her gardening. It had gotten worse over time and would wake her from sleep occasionally. Yet, it was only when I asked, “Is there anything else you want to talk about?”...
With the recent suicide of Robin Williams, we cannot assume that people who seem to be happy actually are. Physicians have the dubious distinction of being the second leading profession to commit suicide. Why, and what can we do to combat burnout and depression?

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