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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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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?
The telephone message arrived in my EMR’s inbox. A patient’s daughter had called and wanted to ask some questions about her mother. Her mother, Louise*, had died about two weeks before. I hesitated before calling her, recalling her mother’s cancer course.
I co-direct a medical student elective at Harvard Medical School called the “Care of the Gynecologic Oncology Patient" (ME525M.3), alongside Dr. Marcela del Carmen. Our students rotate through various...
When I was a fellow, part of our training involved doing consults for patients, most of whom had just learned they had cancer or recurrence of disease. These consults were never easy, but the importance of sitting with someone who had just learned of their diagnosis was an integral part of learning...
Patient-centered care, shared decision-making, and the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) collectively describe a powerful concept that underlies much of the current thinking on health care reform. Although what has caught the political attention is health care insurance reform, the success of...
As 2013 closed, I received an invitation from ASCO to become a mentor in their International Development and Education Award (IDEA) program. As is the case when it comes to ASCO, I reacted just like Pavlov’s dog and said yes before learning what I was agreeing to (note to self—might want to work on...
"I just want to know that she'll be able to travel," my patient's husband said.
“Your cancer has come back.” These are words no one treated for cancer wants to hear, yet they are words I have said far too often in my own career. In this case, I had said this to a patient I had cared for ever since her initial diagnosis. At that time, she had stage III breast cancer. After her...
“While there are many key points to reflect upon [in relation to the concept of “value” in cancer care], the following seem to resonate quite loudly: The current health care/cancer care cost trajectory is not sustainable; ...
Becoming professionalized in medicine is a process that starts in medical school and gets consolidated through the remarkably absorbing daily process of being around patients, health professionals, and scientists. One part of this process is learning to ask the right questions. Early in our careers...
With the approach of our 50th Annual Meeting, ASCO is also formally launching an entirely new initiative aimed at the growing problem of obesity. This effort, funded through our Conquer Cancer Foundation, is meant to help us all confront obesity which is a risk for many common cancers and also a...

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