Colorectal cancer (CRC) remains one of the most common and deadly forms of cancer in the United States. That sobering reality is in no small part because we don’t do enough screening to find the cancer at its earliest stages when it is most treatable or find and remove a colon polyp before it turns into cancer. Despite all the awareness and all the attention, we don’t get enough folks screened. For almost all of us who are 45 years of age and older and are at average risk of the disease (meaning we don’t have a strong family history,… Read More »A New Simpler Blood Test To Screen For Colorectal Cancer May Help Save More Lives
Values based cancer care. Yes, you read that right: VALUES based, not value based. Isn’t it about time we made the effort to define the values that patients and families expect from us when they have a diagnosis of cancer and need treatment? That was the topic of a webinar hosted by Executives for Health Innovation featuring Amy Low (a person living with advanced colon cancer who is Managing Director, Fellowships and Nonprofit Media for the Emerson Collective), Adam Pellegrini (the CEO of Jasper Health, Inc. which is a company focused on using digital technologies to improve the journey for… Read More »A Person Living With Cancer Reminds Us It Is Values Based Care That Counts
A cancer diagnosis and treatment is difficult enough. Having a pet that needs attention during one’s journey shouldn’t add to the burden. That’s the philosophy behind a program offered by CancerCare, a national charity focused on the emotional, social, and financial well-being of those with cancer and those who love them. The program is called the Pet Assistance and Wellness Program, or PAW for short. When I first heard about it, I realized how important such a program can be for those with cancer who love their pets, particularly their cats and dogs, and how the financial, medical, and social… Read More »Help For Your Pet During Your Cancer Journey: What A Great Idea!
“I am sorry, but your time has expired. Have a nice day!” Nope, not a friendly message from a parking meter app. This was from Deathclock.com, a site that purports to tell folks their predicted date of death based primarily on their date of birth. Mine was May 3, 2020 according to “the clock”. Uh, I don’t think so… Clearly—and fortunately for me as I write this blog—the date was more than a little off. Frankly, predicting a date of death is not something to laugh about. Too many folks facing serious illnesses deal with the burden of their mortality… Read More »Message From “The Deathclock”: “Your Time Has Expired.” Really???
To screen or not to screen for melanoma in people at average risk seems to be an open and shut case: melanoma is a lethal skin cancer. Finding it early must be a good idea! That’s what a lot of people—including many dermatologists—believe and preach. However, from a science point of view it is difficult to prove. That is the essence of a research article and two dueling editorials (see 1 and 2) in a recent issue of JAMA Dermatology. This is not a new question: There are lots of believers, including skin cancer organizations, advocates, dermatologists and others who… Read More »To Screen Or Not Screen For Melanoma: That Is The Question
One cannot ignore that fundamental change is coming to how we deliver cancer care. And although we don’t know how all of this will work out, we should be concerned that with change we run the risk there will be folks who could be left behind. And that is not a good thing. This past week’s annual conference for the National Comprehensive Cancer Network—an organization I admire for its efforts to keep cancer treatment guidelines up to date in real time—gave some hint as to how these shifts are taking hold. Usually this is a meeting chock full of updates… Read More »How We Deliver Cancer Care: Time For A Change?
Yesterday I saw a notice on LinkedIn that stuck in my heart and made me think about all the “What ifs…” of life. You know, the positive side of the many moments in life that turn out well, as in “What if I/we/they hadn’t done that?” For me, this “What if” memory triggered by the LinkedIn note was special. It was one of those unexpected moments when a bit of joy creeps into your day and makes you stop and reflect, and helps you overcome all the “If onlys…”. Here is an excerpt from the message: “Sharing with you all… Read More »The Joys Of “What If’s?” In Life And Cancer Survivorship
Let’s talk about it… Oh, you are seriously ill and this is about your health care? Sorry, don’t have time to talk about it. That’s becoming my observation more frequently as I help people in need navigate their own health care issues. Whether it has been cancer care or other situations, communication appears to be becoming a lost art. And when you are really sick with a life-threatening illness, that is a problem. Make no mistake: I do recognize there are a significant number of clinicians and other health care professionals who take their responsibilities seriously and are concerned about… Read More »“Let’s Talk About It”…But Not If You Are Really Sick
Have we made great strides in cancer research and treatment? Yes. Are folks getting the care they need? Maybe not. That is the lesson learned from recent experience helping some cancer patients in their journeys. Our ability to treat cancer has advanced, but if people don’t get the right care or understand their care or feel capable of participating in their care are we really doing the best by them in their times of need? I don’t think so and I hope you would agree. Let me offer an example from real life (and I assure you there are others!!!):… Read More »Are Cancer Patients Getting The Best Care? Maybe; Maybe Not
A patient and physician are faced with the difficult choice of a medicine that isn’t affordable and the option of surgery. But the real question is why does the medication cost so much?