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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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In oncology, there are certain words and phrases that (no matter how carefully said) suck the air out of a room, like "you have cancer," "you've recurred," "incurable," "terminal," and "hospice." Such phrases require careful consideration before they are spoken, and most (if not all) oncologists...
To help me make sense of stress and burnout, I sought to model  the opposite—that force, “buoyancy,” that holds us up and keeps us from sinking in the face of the inevitable stressors that life and work send our way on a daily basis.
I was recently asked to speak at Hematology-Oncology Grand Rounds at Rhode Island Hospital. Instead of my usual topics on gynecologic cancers or sexual health, my colleague, MaryAnn Fenton, had asked me to speak to them about...
Note—All the information below has been publicly reported by the principals involved and this comment involves no HIPAA violations. An 81-year-old male had a screening PSA performed and was subsequently found to have prostate cancer. The Gleason score was not reported but the patient elected to...
Does telemonitoring (remote monitoring of patient vitals or other biometric data) have a role in oncology? Telemedicine
I applaud ASCO and the ABIM on the “Top Five" list—and President Link’s comments in this month’s ASCO Connection magazine (page 38) are right on the mark! It’s our responsibility to rein in costs and improve quality...we cannot...
It seems that every nephew or niece of mine who has an engineering degree is busy creating the next killer app for a mobile device. Usually it starts with way cool technology, but comes up short in figuring out why enough users would want it or what a sustainable business model might be. On the...
In a prior post, I talked about wondering how those I had met through my own patients were doing, especially after my patients had passed on. I wondered if they were all right and whether they were able to move...
As oncologists, we are often expected to “do everything possible” to prolong our patients’ lives and ensure their peace of mind. This expectation arises from within ourselves, as committed caregivers, and from our patients and their families.
Odds are that you have been faced with a similar dilemma. I have a new patient, not yet 40 years old, who was recently diagnosed with bilateral locally advanced breast cancer. Staging scans did not reveal metastatic disease. I recommended systemic therapy with doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, a...
I’m not sure when it started, but I have a favorite tradition of New Year’s Day bookstore browsing. And buying. Yes, I often buy enough books each January 1st to get me through a couple of years of leisure reading (at least). And there is much to be said for a book browsing visit to Harvard Square...
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...
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...
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...
Around this time each year I find myself thinking about patients usually—and especially those that have passed away. I wonder how their families are coping, how their children are, and whether each day has gotten easier. I think about how my patients died—and whether or not I did enough to ensure...
I had a phone call last week that I was expecting but dreading. Like many oncologists, I travel to smaller area hospitals for outreach clinics. This was a call from one of those hospitals telling me that they could not get one of the chemotherapy drugs for a patient there. This is a patient being...
A recent article in the ASCO Post has me thinking quite a bit about information and communication and the application of these concepts to...

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