Category Archive: Oncology/Hematology

The first time I felt I truly helped a patient

November 2017. I was on my pediatrics rotation at a local community clinic. My attending asked me if I could see Johnathan (identifying information and event details altered to protect confidentiality), an eight-year-old boy who has been increasingly f…

What cancer taught this physician about hope

As an internist, I strived to give patients hope by prescribing therapies that increased their chance — their hope — of the best outcome and by encouraging them with hopeful words. My own hope was to care for patients until I was old. Just weeks after …

A community-based program that brings patients and pathologists together

When I was in medical school, I loved pathology. The visual learning and deep understanding of disease were attractive enough that after second year, I took an extra year before clinical rotations to work as a post-sophomore fellow, working as a reside…

Sickle cell is my neighbor

I was diagnosed with sickle cell disease at three months old in Haiti. The diagnosis from the doctor was followed by more tragic news; my parents were told that I was not going to live past five months. From that point on, my parents searched high and …

The insanity of American health care prices played out in this one, real oncology appointment

The oncologist had prescribed Xgeva hoping it would strengthen her bones while also delaying the progression of Angela Kahn’s breast cancer. But Kahn (a pseudonym) couldn’t get over the price of the drug. Before the oncologist had a chance …

How sickle cell anemia influences a medical school journey

“Where there is no struggle, there is no compassion.” -Frederick Douglass Growing up with sickle cell anemia exposed me to the field of medicine. As I go through the pain and complications, it humbles me to the point that motivates me to work harder to…

Let’s be more mindful of respecting the time of our patients

I recently attended a lunchtime session on the Choosing Wisely initiative. This public and professional awareness endeavor attempts to educate the public and health care providers about procedures that do not benefit patients, and that may ultimately c…

The nuance behind an insurance company denial

I just read of a a jury award in excess of $25 million against an insurance company who denied a recommended cancer treatment to a patient who ultimately died.  I do not wish to review here the particulars of this case, and admit that my knowledge is l…

MKSAP: 42-year-old man with thrombophilia

Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 42-year-old man arrives for follow-up consultation. Three months ago he developed a proximal right leg deep venous thrombosis following a s…

PSA-based screening for prostate cancer: Interpreting the changing guidelines

Comparing the 2018 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation statement on prostate cancer screening in the October 15th issue of American Family Physician with its previous recommendation, the first question family physicians ought to…

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