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
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?
The corona virus pandemic has caused a lot of heartbreak and sorrow, especially as this country has passed two hundred thousand deaths, millions infected, some seriously and others with long lasting side effects from the infection. People are afraid. That is understandable. However, Is all the fear justified? When it comes to being cautious, the answer is yes. However when it comes to caring for your personal health and well-being, maybe not as much. The pandemic is causing many people to forgo routine health care because of their fears of getting infected if they go the doctor or the hospital.… Read More »Has COVID Fear Gone Too Far When It Comes To Caring For Our Health?
Hang around medical folks and politicians long enough and you will inevitably hear that we have the greatest health care in the world. And while that may be true for some, it is not true for all. Simply stated, when it comes to our health. We aren’t getting the job done. The sad reality is that we now have evidence we are failing in two important measures of health care for our nation: high blood pressure and obesity which together have a huge impact on our health outcomes and deaths over time. Two recent online reports (here and here) and… Read More »Our Nation’s Health Is Heading In The Wrong Direction