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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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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...
The world is a big place and here in the U.S., we are fortunate to live in a part of it where we have access to technology and advanced medical care, clinical trials, and new therapies, even before they are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Indeed, even new agents approved for one...
So how did the robot take over? As I recall, it started with "hospital A" buying the fancy robot for their urologists to use, after said urologists insisted that this was the way of the future. The Intuitive Surgical Company did an...
Increasingly, cancer care is becoming more evidence-based and personalized. But there are still a lot of areas where we need to question the conventional wisdom. How much of what we learned during training is based upon evidence versus anecdote and assumption?
One of the most difficult issues I’ve had to face is being fired. Rather tragic to let a bruised ego have such a priority. Humility happens when you blow the smoke away from the mirrors. But, spotlight humility and it disappears into the shadows. Humility is the inverted, invisible calm of...
By Daniel B. Hinshaw, MD, FACS, University of Michigan
It’s a hard question, especially for a surgeon. We surgeons like the instant gratification of going in and fixing things. As a surgeon who also gives chemotherapy, managing the end of life is really hard for me in a fundamental way: it’s (in a strange and very personal sense) an admission of...
From a philosophical standpoint, one of the things I hate most about cancer is the use of “war” analogies. The “battle” may mobilize patients and families, but it may also interfere with education and informed decision making. And both patients and clinicians often take recurrence or disease...
I gave a talk recently to a group of my peers about addressing the needs of patients after a diagnosis of cancer, emphasizing points where transitions occur—from treatment, to end of therapy, surveillance, recurrence, and extending all the way up to the end of life—and how important it is to...
These two questions are among the most commonly asked in my clinic, particularly from patients who are recently diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Perhaps the most evocative essay that I have ever read is David Steensma's piece entitled "Reassurance" in the Art of Oncology section of the JCO, published in August 2004. Dr. Steensma writes an emotionally and visually powerful essay...
As I sit at my desk with the end of the year rapidly approaching, I am thinking about endings and new beginnings. I’ve just seen a pictorial about a dad and his three-year-old daughter. These were not family pictures per se...

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