With all the talk about COVID vaccinations, cancer patients have to be asking what it means for them. And aside from some general reassurances, there is a lot we don’t know about how effective those vaccines will be in patients with cancer. What we do know that many are at risk of severe adverse outcomes should they become infected with the virus itself and vaccines are one among several strategies to keep patients with cancer safe from the ravages of COVID and its consequences. There are a couple of important points to keep in mind when we talk about patients… Read More »COVID-19, Vaccines, and Cancer: We Don’t Have All The Answers
Health equity has been top of mind for many this past year, in large part because of the impact of the pandemic especially on people of color and underserved communities. Now that we recognize that health equity is not a reality for far too many, the question remains what are we actually going to do to make certain that everyone has the tools they need to pursue a life of health and healthy behaviors? And more specifically, what are we going to do in the cancer care sphere—from prevention to diagnosis to treatment to end-of-life care—to address the glaring inequities… Read More »An Actionable Framework to Address Cancer Care Disparities: A Call To Action
Getting Back To Cancer Screening: It’s Time To Give Priority To Those Most In Need, Not Those With The Loudest Voice
“How will be certain coming out the pandemic that those who should be a priority for cancer screenings based on risk and need in fact get to the head of the line? And how will we be certain that those who lack voice in the healthcare system are heard and their needs addressed?” That was the question I asked frequently a year ago as we went into the initial shutdown phase as a result of COVID-19. It was a time when there was fear and a lack of understanding about the pandemic, when resources had to be shifted to acute… Read More »Getting Back To Cancer Screening: It’s Time To Give Priority To Those Most In Need, Not Those With The Loudest Voice
It is hard to believe it was just a year ago when all of this started. And now to realize that after everything that we have gone through we are still not near the end of the journey. One year ago I had just started having conversations with knowledgeable colleagues about the threat of this new potentially fatal virus. It was the beginning with cases of a new viral illness reported out of China, a killer virus that was still very much a theoretical threat of what could happen here in the United States. The back-of-the-envelope COVID-19 death projections we… Read More »The Tragic Anniversary of COVID-19
“Biden’s Covid-19 Plan Is Maddeningly Obvious: You can’t help but wonder why the Trump administration left so many of these things undone.” That’s the headline for Ezra Klein’s opinion column in today’s New York Times. It is a question many have been pondering for months. And although I had a thought as to why it was so, I didn’t want to share because at its heart it was so outrageous and unbelievable: Maybe, just maybe, it was all intentional. They planned it this way. It was—simply put—another “Big Lie.” Why was this Big Lie also so successful? Just think where… Read More »COVID Truth In A Post-Truth World: Is It Another Big Lie?
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
Hydroxychloroquine has become a part of the COVID story that will not go away. And with another research study reported today in JAMA showing no benefit of the drug in hospitalized patients with COVID-19, the journal asks the fundamental question: Why do we continue to believe this drug has benefit in treating this pandemic illness, and why won’t science prevail? To which we respond: Why are we surprised???? The study, performed by a clinical trial collaborative under the guidance of the National Heart and Lung Institute of the National Institutes of Health included 479 patients in 34 hospitals around the… Read More »Hydroxychlorqine for COVID-19: Time To Move On?
No one really wants to say this about national political leadership, especially in a time of serious nationwide distress and even moreso at a time of heightened political tension and presidential elections, lest one’s comments be dismissed as being politically motivated. However given the events of the past months and especially the past few days, it must be said: Our national (and some state) political leaders are demonstrating a wanton, deliberate and callous disregard for truth and for science, and as a result we are now entering a period of intense national emergency leading to avoidable illness, death and potential… Read More »A Wanton, Deliberate and Callous Disregard for the Truth and Science Regarding COVID-19
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?