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?
March is National Colorectal Cancer Month, a month devoted to bringing attention to the third most common cancer in men and women, as well as the third most common cause of cancer deaths in each birth gender. Screening and improvements in treatment for colorectal cancer (CRC) have proven effective in reducing both incidence and death from the disease, yet despite the considerable progress that has been made over the past 30 years we still have a long way to go if we are to further reduce that burden. We often say that we want to make progress in cancer treatment,… Read More »March Is National Colorectal Cancer Month. So What Are We Going To Do About It?
There is an even more tantalizing possibility: what if we could diagnose, treat and monitor patients with localized lung cancer without even using surgery and radiation therapy as primary treatment? Now, that would be amazing. And yet as I gaze into my crystal ball, I really do think that may just be a possibility sometime in the future. And that may not be so far away.
Clinical trials are frequently taken for granted by the cancer community–by patients, caregivers, and clinicians alike. Those trials are the backbone of the recommendations we make for cancer treatment. How often do we take a moment to think about the incredible patients and families who participated in those trials, trials which make such a difference in the lives of so many every day?
Two years ago, life changed: the pandemic had started taking roots in the United States, people were scared, communities were impacted and life as we knew it started to shut down. Little did we realize how long-lasting and deep the impact would be. I looked at the New York Times data this morning and realized (again) that we have lost close to 1 million souls in this country. One can debate whether we could have mitigated that number through various measures over these past two years, but one cannot debate the deep emotional scars and losses that have resulted from… Read More »COVID, Two Years Later: Too Much To Grieve?
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
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