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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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There are over 33,000 ASCO members now, and the size and diversity of our membership increases the challenge of keeping the Society in touch with the concerns and opinions that matter the most to our members, the concerns that wake us up in the middle of the night or occupy a good part of our...
Several weeks ago, I attended the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network (MBCN) Annual Meeting, hosted by MD Anderson Cancer Center. I had been invited to talk on sexual health and intimacy, and was delighted to do so. Right after...
I am struck by the complex signals we now live with as each of us proceeds through our day of clinical, research, or administrative matters. Daily, we navigate through a forest of information from our multiple emails, texts, tweets, phone messages, snail mail, and conversations with colleagues and...
We took off from Logan Airport four minutes before United Airlines Flight 175, the second plane to crash into the Twin Towers on 9/11. For us, September 11, 2001, started with all the heady mix of excitement and stress, a transatlantic Virgin flight, sympathetic hostess smiles, and four kids with...
In my first ASCO Connection blog post (10/25/11), I talked about “Participatory Medicine in Oncology” by asking: “What does a healthy medicine and oncology “ecosystem” look...
Each time I reach the point of recommending radiation treatment for someone with a brain tumor or head and neck cancer, I ask for a higher level of trust from each patient than usual: let us make a mask to keep you safe.
I was lying in bed, watching something with my son when a chat message popped up on screen. It was my dear friend, Narin, whom I haven't seen in years but remain in contact with (thanks to the wonders of social media)."Did you hear that Dave died?" she had written; "I just read it in our...
It was an awkward moment—the uncomfortable silence and her smarting reply. I regretted biting my lip and the nonverbal message that gesture implied. I felt bad for the obvious pain that I’d unmasked in her face. Her eyes had narrowed, and she’d withdrawn as if I’d hit her.
Ordering CT, MRI, or PET scans for my patients when they feel well always makes me nervous. As a radiation oncologist, I’ve chosen to frequently make observations that potentially find active, progressive cancer. And this creates an existential crisis that scares me—but not as much as it scares my...
By Anupama Kurup Acheson, MD.  From accounts before 1600 BC in ancient Greece to records of a large census done during the Han Dynasty in China, censuses have played a crucial role historically across the world.
Maybe I should’ve noticed how she looked… “She” was a new patient, Louise*, and she had been diagnosed with stage IV cervical cancer. Only in her 40s, the diagnosis had hit her extremely hard. At her first meeting, she wanted the “truth,” and I had told her what I felt to be most relevant--that her...
I looked ridiculous. Dressed in the black-and-white-striped soccer referee shirt, I looked like roadkill on a black asphalt road with the white sidewalk markings. It reminded me of how uncomfortable I looked in my interview suit and tie as a medical student interviewing at residency programs....
I often am asked for opinions about hematology/oncology cases from colleagues around the country. Additionally, whenever a family friend or relative is diagnosed with cancer, I also often am asked for an opinion. How do you handle these unofficial second opinions?
Everyone’s talking about health care costs these days. The presentations usually start with a chart of rising health care expenditures, the tip of the line pointing skywards. Next come exhaustive (and exhausting) tables, more charts, all punctuated with a final shrug of uncertainty from the speaker...
Do you know that flying in an airplane 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for a few years is safer than being a patient in a hospital for a fraction of a day?
Our practice recently had a visiting speaker sponsored by a pharmaceutical company speaking on a new drug for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer. As part of the presentation, a Phase III randomized trial was presented demonstrating an improvement in median survival with the use of the...
“What do you think?” my nurse, Laura, had asked as we discussed her call from Ms. Lyons*. Ms. Lyons, an ovarian cancer survivor whom I have known for years, had called Laura after she had developed a discoloration on her abdominal wall and vague abdominal pain. She thought it might have something...
"Value-Based Medicine," if not yet a term for the ages, is an increasingly embraced concept for our times of diminishing health care resources, a time for doing more with less. The risks of not taking this reality seriously are borne out by Sequestration, another newly coined term in our vocabulary...

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