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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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Dear ASCO Member: Over the past year the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) has engaged with ASCO and other stakeholders to listen to the concerns of physicians and redesign their Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program. We have advocated for reform and the ABIM is responding.  The...
One of the limited number of positives about having cancer is being able to get away with making cancer jokes. Before I got cancer, I thought up what I believe is the greatest-ever pun involving Midwestern geography and malignant neoplasms, but I was never able to share it—until now. I will include...
We have all seen patients whose distress is off the charts, or off the Distress Thermometer (NCCN). They sit in our offices, dazed and seemingly so depressed that we ask the mandatory question: “Are you thinking of hurting yourself?” Some patients just shake their head, not making eye contact, and...
Winner: Association Media & Publishing 2016 EXCEL Award, Best Single Blog Post
One afternoon, I was seated in front of my computer working when a ping came through, notifying me of a message delivered on Twitter. I stopped what I was doing and scrolled through Twitter and then checked my message. It was from someone I had never met in real life (“IRL,” in social media),...
When I became an attending at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSKCC), I inherited a panel of patients from one of our doctors who had recently retired. One of them was Alice*, a spritely 70 year-old female. She had been diagnosed with stage III ovarian cancer in her fifties. She had surgery for it...
I have written about the support that a partner/spouse provides to someone living with cancer—with prostate cancer and for young adults with cancer—and I always...
In the latest workforce study for oncology conducted by ASCO, approximately 30% of practicing oncologists were women. However, this number is expected to grow.
The Chairman always arrived very early, gathered information about what had happened during the night from the head nurse, then retired for a few hours into his studio to write: he was a highly educated man, full of interests. That morning he saw me with my eyes full of tears.
The NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) Annual Meeting took place August 27-28, 2015, at the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, MD. Themes paralleled those of the ASCO Annual Meeting (#...
John was waiting in the exam room for me. I was standing outside the door, not wanting to go inside.
Jodi* had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer several years earlier, had received adjuvant carboplatin and paclitaxel therapy, relapsed three years later, and since then, had been on several forms of therapy—most recently receiving weekly paclitaxel. She was tolerating treatment well, but a CT scan...
Tiffany, one of my friends on the Facebook site, “Chemo for Champions,” posted that comment several years ago. She had just passed the six-month anniversary of receiving a diagnosis of cholangiocarcinoma. When she was first diagnosed, one of the first things that she did was look up her diagnosis...
I hesitated when I was offered an opportunity to participate in Oncotalk, a communication course geared towards oncologists.
Broaching difficult topics, such as the possibility of a recurrence or the failure of treatment to control the disease, is often postponed because it is uncomfortable for both the patient and the doctor.
Many of us put a lot of effort into keeping our work and personal lives separate. It certainly helps to improve our quality of life and prevent burnout. In my training, however, I was taught that it can be very helpful to open part of yourself to your patients. They get to see you more as a person...
She had come to see me as a second opinion; diagnosed with uterine serous cancer, one of the more aggressive types of uterine cancers. At surgery they found that it had metastasized to her nodes—stage III disease.
My patient mix comes in waves—some months it is mostly women with breast cancer struggling with adjuvant endocrine therapy or men in the aftermath of surgery for prostate...

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