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
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!
New models of primary care offer a lot, however can they deliver for everyone? My hunch: they are focused on a younger, healthier, less demanding population.
For me, I have no expectation (or desire, for that matter) that I will be getting my medical care in my PJ’s—until I am unable to get out of my PJ’s.
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?
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
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
“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?
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?