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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 am often asked by friends and acquaintances how I am able to do what I do for a living, which is care for patients with advanced lung cancer. Depending on the setting and how well I know the person asking, I might say that the treatments are improving all the time (i.e., the casual dinner party...
Mom. Dad. Happy. Sad. Friend. Trust. I remember playing this game. A friend would say one thing, and then I would say the first thing that came to my mind. For some reason, it would pass the time. I remember how some words would spark an emotion or a memory. Sometimes happy, sometimes not so happy...
University of California, San Francisco 1968: The days of rage, Haight-Ashbury nearby; a second-year medical student in pathology naively asking the section pathologist, “Who was this Virchow guy who had so many eponyms?” A quixotic look, the enigmatic answer, and later in the library (no Internet...
I am looking out of my window on a cold and cloudy Boston afternoon and find myself pondering about life—how unpredictable it is, and how one minute can hold no assurance for what happens after. Before I left for vacation, I saw Joan.* She has been under my care for a number of years, living with...
A friend of mine died after outliving her prognosis for more than a year. I was with her at almost all her appointments with various oncologists. She had asked me to be the notetaker for these appointments so that she could focus on the discussion as it happened and then have the notes to review...
“Physicians and health care systems will be held increasingly accountable for the results of medical decision-making and success in improving patient disease outcomes...”
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…

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