Category Archive: Oncology/Hematology

Should we start screening for colon cancer at age 45?

Here’s what most medical experts agree on: People 50 and older should be screened for colon cancer. Here’s what is more controversial: Whether that screening should start, routinely, at age 45. Recently, the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommended th…

6 resources on the power of narrative medicine

When I first turned to writing, I had no knowledge of the field of narrative medicine. It took four years of medical school, three years of residency, three years of subspecialty fellowship and over a decade in practice before I learned of it. (That’s …

Radiation oncologists aren’t just strangers in the basement

“We have a consult for radiation oncology regarding a 60-year-old gentleman with a history of lung cancer and is currently admitted. His oncologist is Dr. Heme Onc.” As a new radiation oncology resident, I was surprised to hear the consulting physician…

Will artificial intelligence be able to have this conversation?

Transformation of health care is underway: The landscape is filled with innovation, and the horizon is dotted with technological possibilities of “Star Trek” ilk. In a recent New England Journal of Medicine Catalyst article, there was a compelling argu…

Do you know why you’re having surgery?

During my third year of medical school, I completed a clinical rotation in surgery. I was certain that it would be horrible. I envisioned myself in the OR, getting lightheaded, passing out onto the sterile field and being yelled at by my attending phys…

“The Wait” after a mammogram changes lives

There is something both intimate and mysterious about the waiting area for mammograms. You sit in a relatively small space; chairs close together with a gown tied to cover your nakedness, your normally restrained lady parts flopping free against the sc…

A story of treatment failure and end-of-life decisions

Part 4 of a series. By the time my father’s metastatic prostate cancer was diagnosed, he was already experiencing symptoms of poor appetite and weight loss, which grew progressively worse following his first hospital admission. As his nutritional statu…

Generics aren’t going to help the cost of chemotherapy drugs

Chemotherapy drugs have become ridiculously expensive. Many new drugs come to market costing more than $100,000 per patient for a full course of treatment. Often, patients have to pay a significant portion of these costs. For example, a 20% co-insuranc…

What clothing choice says about a patient

The woman waiting to see me looked every inch a lawyer or accountant in her black pencil skirt, pink shirt, and a Chanel-style houndstooth jacket. Her ankle boots were reminiscent of those worn by women in Victorian times with a row of small buttons up…

A stage IV lung cancer survivor story

I want to share how the era of immunotherapy, specifically immune-checkpoint-inhibitors, has changed the landscape of community oncology practice in metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer, for oncologists and, more importantly, patients. I want to tell …

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