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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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Earlier this week I passed my friend and colleague, Dr. Ekaterini Tsiapali, in the stairwell. We rarely get to catch up these days, so it was really quite a nice surprise to see her."What...
I was recently appointed the Assistant Director of the Yale Cancer Center with the portfolio of Diversity/Disparities. While I’m not sure I’m the most qualified for this, it has gotten me thinking a lot about diversity, disparities, and what it means to achieve health equity. Too often, I think...
Like many oncologists, I am picky about the books I read. I’m not ashamed to say that I favor funny, happy books that make me laugh. There’s enough drama and angst in my day job that I tend to avoid this during my free time.
In health care, we often find ourselves reacting to events rather than dictating them. Being cast in this undesirable position is often unavoidable when dealing with regulators and federal policy. However, the ability to foresee the need for change and thereby influence the direction of change is a...
I have to admit it. Even today, I find interpreting statistics for patients very difficult; not because I don't understand the concept of relative and absolute risks, hazard or odds ratios, or survival rates. It's because in the end, they do not apply at an individual level.
This is probably the question I get asked the most when I tell people that I am an oncologist. It’s a question I have asked myself a number of times in the past as well. Now it’s a question I am facing again... My first exposure to this was when my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in...
Reading the news about the current shortage of methotrexate filled me with shame and anger and sorrow. Sometime during the past few years my country, which developed the drugs and regimens that cured most of childhood leukemia, became part of the third world. Parents in the United States now know...
The controversy that has erupted regarding the Susan G. Komen foundation and recent decisions about funding Planned Parenthood has been hard to miss. As a specialist in women's cancers and given my general interest in women's health, I've been fascinated by this dialogue online—on message boards,...
At age 24, Will Reiser started to have some back pain and lose weight. After what I am sure most of us would consider way too long a time, he was evaluated and diagnosed with a neurofibrosarcoma. After some upfront treatment, his disease was resected and he is, by all reports, doing well. Sounds...
Last week I attended the semi-annual meeting of the Gynecologic Oncology Group, the cooperative group focused on trials for gynecologic cancers. Over two days I was engaged in updates of ongoing clinical trials and discussion of new trial concepts for ovarian,...
I’ve been thinking about bad habits lately. Not because of my teenage children (although they are quick to remind me of such things), but because of some recommended reading from some colleagues. One recommendation was a blog by Robert J.
When I tell people I am an oncologist, I usually get the same response: "That must be so depressing! How do you stand it?" I remember having members of my own family ask me that way back when I was a medical resident as I made the decision to enter oncology. Now that I am in a position where I...
What is the cost of cancer? We are likely to agree that such a deep probing question is exquisitely difficult to answer; the murkiness of the water increases as we move from tangible to intangible costs.
Personalized medicine has become the mantra for the 21st century—as if somehow we never before customized the care we provide to the individual patient’s diagnosis and personal needs. But the reality of choosing therapies rationally for patients with cancer has never been more apparent.
As much as we loathe wars, we should realize that we are in the midst of a global one that kills more people than all world wars, regional wars, or civil wars. The numbers of victims claimed by this war’s far-reaching effects and collateral damages are striking evidence of its massive destructive...
A recent ASCO publication ran a headline article about the controversy regarding PSA screening recommendations. It was the same story heard before in this and other malignancies. Some groups say screen and others say do not screen. So why does this merit discussion here? Sure, my clinical focus is...
Recently, a very dear friend learned that her breast cancer (diagnosed in 2010) had spread to her brain. Despite my many years as an oncologist, having faced questions from my own patients about "Why me?", "What did I do to deserve this?"—questions I am fully aware have no answer—I found myself...
Do you remember the 1998 movie You've Got Mail, starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks? I saw it on cable recently. Ryan's character runs a small bookstore in New York. Tom Hanks owns a megastore, which moves into Ryan’s neighborhood. He and Meg Ryan fall in love with each other over the (then...

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