We are facing a surge in corona virus cases. Hospitals are at their limits throughout the United States. Nurses, doctors, hospital staffs are overwhelmed. They are tired, and relief is not in sight. Does that mean we will start seeing health care rationed, especially for cancer patients whose prognosis may be uncertain? Sadly, that may be the case over the next several weeks if we don’t reverse our current course to disaster. During the early days of the COVID19 pandemic one of my worst fears was the possibility that cancer patients could not get hospital treatment if needed as a… Read More »Does COVID Winter Mean Rationing Care For Those With Cancer?
Cancer advocacy is not often top of mind, even for patients and families facing active diagnoses and treatments for cancer. However, with the added impact of COVID-19 on our health and well being, advocacy and service in the cancer space is becoming more important than ever. That is one of the messages that came from a webinar I participated in this morning on “Cancer Care Patient Advocacy Perspectives” as part of a series of discussions being presented over the course of several months by the Association for Value Based Cancer Care. Organizations providing advocacy and service to those with cancer… Read More »Cancer Advocacy: A Precious Resource In A Time Of Immense Needs
16 million cancer survivors in the United States, growing every year. Success stories we never would have imagined even a decade ago. And yet, when it comes to genuinely understanding the impacts of cancer treatments and what happens over the long term to young and older survivors alike, we are woefully uniformed and under-prepared—and as a nation don’t have a unified plan to address the issue. That’s my take away nugget from a two day workshop just completed on “Addressing the Adverse Consequences of Cancer Treatment,” convened by the National Cancer Policy Forum, which is part of the National Academies… Read More »It’s Time To Address The Needs Of Cancer Survivors
A recent conversation among a group of physicians gave me a fair amount of distress and discomfort. The topic was an unproven treatment for COVID-19, the discomfort was the disinformation—in my opinion—being shared, and the distress was the fact that the discussion likely reflected what some doctors are actually doing for the treatment of patients who are infected with the corona virus. Evidence was left at the doorstep. As I reflected on the conversation I realized it was not unlike what I have experienced over decades as a medical oncologist, especially in years past where there was literally very little… Read More »Unproven Treatments in COVID-19: Why Do They Persist?
This may be one of the most important advances in cancer treatment this year, and almost no one in the major media has reported it, as best I can tell: Osimertinib (trade name Tagrisso™) made a huge difference in outcomes for patients with early stage EGFR-biomarker positive lung cancer when used as adjuvant (preventive) therapy after primary treatment (complete surgical resection in all patients; adjuvant chemotherapy in some). When I say huge, I mean huge: EGFR+ patients with stage IB to IIIC non-small cell lung cancer (the most common type of lung cancer) had a close to 90% survival at… Read More »A Major Advance In Lung Cancer Treatment: Does Anyone Know About It?