For me, the concept of dogs sniffing breath samples to detect human cancers early has been the gift that keeps on giving—actually, for about 20 years. Blogs, media interviews, national television news appearances: you name it: it’s a topic that has engaged me periodically for that many years. It is the story that will not go away. And despite all that continuing interest for me and the larger, more sophisticated scientific community the reality is that so far, it hasn’t worked. So imagine the deja vu moment I had when reading a recent research report in JAMA Network Open from… Read More »Can Doggies Detect Cancer Early? Researchers Keep On Trying
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
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
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?
“I dunno…” That’s what our 3 year old granddaughter used to say when asked a question. What made it especially cute was when she raised her hands upward to the side of her head and gave a quizzical facial expression with her response. When she said “I dunno” it was cute. Today, when we hear it as a nation it isn’t so cute. It is deadly serious in the truest sense of the word. Today we are living what I have called “COVID truth”, a moment in time where truth is no longer true and where the alteration and repetition… Read More »COVID Truth In A Post-Truth World: “I Dunno” Is Not An Answer
The news early this morning that the President and the First Lady have both been diagnosed with COVID-19 infections has been devastating. And for the next two weeks or so, although we pray otherwise, the journey may be difficult. We just don’t know. Many of us are now asking what those two weeks might bring. Unfortunately, there is no clear answer. No matter the fact that everyone will have their “take” on what is going to happen, the reality is that no one knows. I have learned from a lot of experience commenting in the public space about illnesses and… Read More »COVID And The President: What We Can Expect