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Radiation Oncologist Gives Clear Advice to Patients With Cancer

BOOKMARK Title: Cancer: What You Need to Know: Overcome the 10 Common Mistakes Patients MakeAuthor: Stephen A. Rosenberg, MDPublisher: Stephen Rosenberg, MDYear Published: November 2017Price: $9.99, paperback, 248 pages Stephen A. Rosenberg, MD, is Chief Resident in Radiation Oncology at the...

Old and New Perspectives on the Theory of Cancer

BOOKMARK Title: Tripping Over the Truth: How the Metabolic Theory of Cancer Is Overturning One of Medicine’s Most Entrenched ParadigmsAuthor: Travis Christofferson, MSPublisher: Chelsea Green PublishingPublication Date: February 2017Price: $24.95, hardcover; 288 pages Bringing a book to market is...

solid tumors
pancreatic cancer

Achieving One’s Childhood Dreams While Facing Pancreatic Cancer

BOOMARK Title: The Last LectureAuthor: Randy Pausch with Jeffrey ZaslowPublisher: HyperionDate: April 2008Price: $21.95, hardcover; 206 pages Faced with imminent death, how does one chose to live out the remainder of one’s life? Such is the question at the heart of The Last Lecture, a memoir...

Love Triumphs Amid a Battle With Cancer

BOOKMARK Title: The Red Devil: To Hell With Cancer—and BackAuthor: Katherine Russell RichPublisher: CrownDate Published: October 1999Price: $23.95, hardcover, 256 pages Over the past year or so, there have been several best-selling memoirs of people fighting and ultimately losing their battle with ...

hematologic malignancies
lymphoma

Born in Chicago, Lymphoma Specialist Sonali M. Smith, MD, Never Left the Windy City

Nationally recognized lymphoma expert Sonali M. Smith, MD, was born and reared in Chicago to a mother who was a pediatrician and allergist, and a father who was an engineer. Her parents were first-generation immigrants from India who placed the value of education second to none. “I became used to...

A Vivid Look Back, a Cogent Look Forward

Cancer memoirs come in a variety of literary styles and voices. Not surprisingly, the most poignant cancer memoirs are by those who are writing, in essence, their final words before departing this earth. The most widely read of that variety has been the beautifully written best seller When Breath...

issues in oncology

Fleeing a Revolution, Becoming an Oncologist

Nicaragua, situated between Costa Rica and Honduras, is the poorest country in Central America. Following the U.S. occupation in 1912, the Somoza family began a brutal political dynasty that would end in 1979 during the bloody Nicaraguan Revolution.  Marcela G. del Carmen, MD, MPH, Chief Medical...

Restorative Effects of Painting Offset the Demands of Oncology

Oncologists are apt to give patients the worst news of their lives: You have cancer. Yet studies show that, by and large, despite the stressful aspects of treating people with a life-threatening disease, oncologists report one of the highest percentages of professional satisfaction among medical...

hematologic malignancies

A Pioneer in Bloodless Transplant Discusses Advances in Blood Management

Bloodless stem cell transplantation, performed without the transfusion of allogeneic blood or blood products, has numerous clinical advantages, especially among populations of patients who prefer, for religious or other reasons, no blood methods of medical and surgical treatment. Patricia A. Ford, ...

Life With Death in the Room

It began, as so many do, with what a doctor often calls “a small spot,” a vague description that makes a potentially fatal disease sound like something that, with a slight bit of attention, can be ridded, like erasing a misplaced comma. In 2015, during a routine mammogram, doctors found one “small ...

A Revolutionary Technology Offers Hope and Ethical Concern

Aldous Huxley’s classic 1932 dystopian novel Brave New World pictures an eerie future where humans are genetically bred, altered to create worthy citizens. Welcome back to the future. First there was the astounding feat of sequencing the entire human genome; now, thanks to a revolutionary...

integrative oncology

Barrie Cassileth, PhD: A Pioneer in Integrative Oncology

Integrative oncology is an evolving evidence-based specialty providing whole-person care by combining conventional approved cancer treatments with integrative and complementary therapies that best serve the needs of patients based on their diagnosis, prognosis, treatment history, and individual...

hematologic malignancies

Leading Lymphoma Clinician, Researcher, and Mentor, Oliver ‘Ollie’ Press, MD, PhD, Dies at 65

In 1988, 38-year-old Rita Lawrence found herself in a desperate situation. The lymphoma she’d been battling had recurred after 2 years of remission. She’d endured multiple rounds of tough chemotherapy, but it couldn’t stave off the swiftly growing tumors. When she learned of a radioimmunotherapy...

solid tumors
breast cancer

Stalked by BRCA1: A Women Struggles to Survive the Same Disease That Killed Her Mother

No matter what a person does in life, for good and bad, his or her inherited genetic makeup follows along the way. Such was the case with British journalist Sarah Gabriel, who inherited the BRCA1 mutation from her mother, who died of ovarian cancer when Ms. Gabriel was in college. Much of her...

hematologic malignancies

Early Love of Science and Famous Mentor Paved the Way for Gwen L. Nichols, MD, in Hematologic Cancer

Nationally regarded leukemia and lymphoma specialist Gwen L. Nichols, MD, was born in the Bronx, New York, and when she became of school age, her parents moved to the upstate suburb of Chappaqua, where she grew up. Asked if there were any physicians in her family who might have influenced her...

issues in oncology
breast cancer

Treating Breast Cancer During Pregnancy Calls for Careful Timing of Therapies and Sensitive Discussions With Patients

Breast cancer during pregnancy is relatively uncommon; however, it poses a significant clinical challenge to the patient and her multidisciplinary care team. To shed light on this difficult issue, The ASCO Post spoke with Carey K. Anders, MD, a medical oncologist and researcher at the University...

breast cancer

For Breast Cancer Specialist Ann H. Partridge, MD, MPH, Medicine Is a Family Tradition

Breast cancer specialist Ann H. Partridge, MD, MPH, was born in Manhasset, Long Island, and grew up several miles east in Muttontown, New York. Since tiny Muttontown didn’t have its own school system, Dr. Partridge went to high school in nearby Locust Valley, a town on Long Island’s North Shore,...

issues in oncology
cost of care

With Financial Toxicity in Oncology Care on the Rise, Providers Need to Help Address Patients’ Financial Issues

At the 2017 ASCO Quality Care Symposium, Dan Sherman, MA, LPC, discussed potential solutions to the persistent challenge of financial toxicity in the oncology setting. Mr. Sherman is a clinical financial consultant and Founder and President of The Navectis Group, Caledonia, Michigan. Rather than...

issues in oncology

Recognizing the Importance of a Work-Life Balance in Oncology

The ASCO Post introduces this new department, Living a Full Life, in which we will share insightful narratives of oncology professionals highlighting personal aspects of these clinicians’ lives separate from the world of oncology. We also intend to open a dialogue about the challenges that today’s...

The Dark Side of Medicine: Physician Suicide

The statistics on physician suicide are stark: Physicians are more than twice as likely to take their own lives as nonphysicians, and more than 400 physicians commit suicide each year in the United States. Moreover, young physicians at the early part of their training are reported to be...

issues in oncology

Overdiagnosis of Those in Higher Income Brackets

According to researchers from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, being in a high-income bracket may lead to overdiagnosis of cancer and the subsequent harms associated with unnecessary medical treatments. To shed light on this interesting finding and its broader...

issues in oncology

Balancing Harms and Benefits of Cancer Screening: The Debate Continues

Over the past several decades, widespread cancer screening has saved lives from various cancer types. However, despite advances in early-detection technologies, many cancers still remain undetected until they become symptomatic, conferring poor prognoses and outcomes. Moreover, some methods of...

Addressing the Challenges of Intimacy After Cancer

The literature has documented the stress and damage that intimacy problems cause among women undergoing cancer treatment and during survivorship. A new book, Sex and Cancer: Intimacy, Romance, and Love After Diagnosis and Treatment, by Saketh R. Guntupalli, MD, and Maryann Karinch tackles the...

Tales From the OR: A Pediatric Surgeon’s Memoir

CARING FOR sick children brings with it a set of emotional and physical challeneges that differ from those with the adult patient population. In a new book, Healing Children: A Surgeon’s Stories From the Frontiers of Pediatric Medicine, Kurt Newman, MD, draws on more than 30 years of his...

A Doctor’s Call to Arms About the Overuse of Antibiotics

On September 3, 1928, Scottish biologist Alexander Fleming returned to London from a vacation and sorted through some petri dishes containing colonies of Staphylococcus. He noticed something unusual in one dish: It was dotted with colonies except for one area where a patch of mold grew....

A New Manual for the Expanding Field of Bone Marrow Transplantation

The first hematopoietic stem cell transplant was pioneered by E. Donnall Thomas, MD, and published in The New England Journal of Medicine in September 12, 1957. Although the six patients on his trial all died by 100 days post transplantation, Dr. Thomas remained undaunted, continuing his...

thyroid cancer

The Rising Incidence of Thyroid Cancer Reconsidered

Despite a significant rise in the incidence of thyroid cancer, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), a panel of independent experts in primary care and screening, has given thyroid cancer screening a D recommendation, which is a recommendation against screening. To shed light on this...

cost of care

Addressing the Societal Impact of Financial Toxicity

Most discussions about “financial toxicity” center on the cancer patient, but there is also a societal toxicity, which has far-reaching consequences. Coming up with answers to this growing problem has vexed health-care experts over the past decade. In an effort to gather opinions on this vital...

prostate cancer
kidney cancer
bladder cancer

Maha Hussain, MD, FACP, FASCO, Credits Collaboration for Her Contributions to Genitourinary Cancer

Internationally recognized genitourinary oncologist Maha Hussain, MD, FACP, FASCO, was born and reared in Baghdad, Iraq. “I came from a family that stressed the value of higher education and especially medicine. I have three uncles who are physicians, and my father encouraged my three siblings and...

palliative care

An Expert on End-of-Life Care Shares Her Stories

“In the sufferer let me see only the human being.” So said Maimonides, the medieval Jewish philosopher and physician who espoused treating the patient rather than the illness, a philosophy that modern oncology had to relearn. This brief quote greets readers of a new book called Extreme Measures:...

health-care policy

A Deep and Incisive Look Into the Health-Care System

The seemingly impossible-to-cure maladies of our $3 trillion per year health-care system have been hyperanalyzed, fiercely debated, and voluminously written about by the country’s leading public health experts, opinionated doctors, and policymakers on Capitol Hill. The Affordable Care Act extended ...

A Textbook That Fills a Special Need in Oncology: Uncommon Cancers

A cancer diagnosis provokes a sea of emotions, fear and anxiety over the future foremost. However, being diagnosed with a common cancer such as breast or prostate cancer has a hard-won comfort zone, in that both patients and physicians are armed with a plethora of data and resources on how to treat ...

palliative care

An Educational Program for Safe Handling of Opioids

Improper storage, use, and disposal of prescribed opioids can lead to diversion or accidental overdose. Given that opioids are the mainstay of cancer pain treatment, this issue is particularly germane in the oncology community. The ASCO Post recently spoke with Akhila Reddy, MD, and Maxine de la...

issues in oncology
health-care policy

First Oncologist Elected AMA President, Barbara L. McAneny, MD, Advocates for Access to Health Care for Everyone

Since the founding of the American Medical Association (AMA) in 1847, Barbara L. McAneny, MD, is the fourth woman and first oncologist to be elected President of the venerable medical association. “I’m a generic Midwesterner. I was born in Missouri and raised in Madison County, Illinois, and went...

A Frank Memoir About Doctors, Patients, and the Health-Care System

“In 1981, 2 days after my older brother Matthew was born, my father sawed off the tip of his index finger.” So begins No Apparent Distress: A Doctor’s Coming of Age on the Front Lines of American Medicine, a memoir by Rachel Pearson, MD, who is currently a resident at Seattle Children’s Hospital. ...

A Social Media Guide by a Doctor for Doctors

Today’s brave new world of digital technology has both enhanced and compromised the day-to-day operational efficiency of ultrabusy oncologists who are struggling to balance patient care with the rapid evolution of technology. Like all scientific advances, health-care technology is a double-edged...

issues in oncology

The Immune System: Deciphering Recent Advances

Over the past decade, there has been renewed interest in developing immunologic therapies in cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several new biologic agents that target a patient’s immune system, some of which have produced profound clinical responses. However, the...

Big Data and the Learning Machine

BOOKMARK Title: The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our WorldAuthor: Pedro DomingosPublisher: Beacon PressPublication date: February 2017Price: $24.95, hardcover, 288 pages Technology is revolutionizing our understanding and treatment of diseases....

pain management
supportive care

Pediatric Cancer Pain May Be Misunderstood and Largely Undertreated

Cancer pain in children poses certain unique challenges. Over the past decade, insightful research into pediatric cancer pain has focused on pain management that incorporates nonopioid therapies into standard care. To shed light on this important issue, The ASCO Post spoke with Christine T....

breast cancer

Growing Use of Molecular Pathology May Help Avoid Overtreatment of Early Breast Cancer

The emerging field of molecular pathology focuses on the study and diagnosis of disease through the examination of genes and gene activity within organs and tissues. This information has transformed our thinking about the biologic diversity of breast cancers and has enhanced our treatment...

breast cancer

Monica Morrow, MD, Tumbled Gender Barriers to Build a Career in Surgical Oncology

Breast cancer surgeon Monica Morrow, MD, came from a town in the far northeast reaches of suburban Philadelphia. “I guess because there were only two girls in our family, I was the son my father never had, and he reared me that way. When we were playing catch, if I missed the ball and got hit in...

Refocusing Doctor-Patient Conversations

BOOKMARK Title: What Patients Say, What Doctors HearAuthor: Danielle Ofri, MDPublisher: Beacon PressPublication date: February 2017Price: $24.95, hardcover, 288 pages Despite our scientific and medical advances, the single most important diagnostic tool is the doctor-patient conversation, which is ...

The Serendipitous Road to Drug Development

BOOKMARK Title: The Drug Hunters: The Improbable Quest to Discover New MedicinesAuthors: Donald R. Kirsch, PhD, and Ogi Ogas, PhDPublisher: Arcade PublishingPublication date: January 2017Price: $24.99, hardcover, 328 pages Only about 1 in 100 drug discovery projects initiated by the pharmaceutical ...

cns cancers

Combinations of Novel Treatment Approaches Continue to Make Progress in Overcoming Challenges of Pediatric Brain Tumors

Nearly 2,500 children in the United States are diagnosed with brain tumors each year, making these malignancies among the most common solid tumors in children and adolescents. Despite advances over the past few decades, the treatment of brain tumors remains one of the most challenging clinical...

lung cancer

The Ongoing Challenges of Lung Cancer Screening

Lung cancer persistently remains the leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the United States. Only about 15% of lung cancers are diagnosed at the localized stage, when clinical intervention could markedly improve patient outcomes. For decades, lung cancer specialists and advocacy...

A New Book Deals With an Age-Old Crisis: Cancer Patients and Mortality

The field of psycho-oncology began to take hold in the mid-1970s, when the “C” word was beginning to lose its long-held stigmatization, and patients with cancer could finally begin to openly reveal their diagnosis and express their feelings about their life-threatening disease. Despite that social ...

leukemia

Different Subtypes of Acute Myeloid Leukemia Create Both Clinical and Research Challenges

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the most common leukemia in adults. Each year, about 20,000 Americans will be diagnosed with AML, and roughly 10,000 people in this country will die of the disease. AML progresses quickly, and unless treatment begins soon and is effective , the prognosis is grim....

issues in oncology

Can You Hear Me Now? Listening to the Cancer Patient

At this year’s ASCO Quality Care Symposium, Neeraj K. Arora, PhD, Associate Director at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, opened his presentation by stressing that integrating the patient’s voice and experience into the clinical setting produces better health outcomes.1 Dr. Arora,...

issues in oncology
health-care policy

An Oncology Care Model: One Institute’s Experience

At this year’s ASCO Quality Care Symposium, Blase N. Polite, MD, MPP, Associate Professor of Medicine at The University of Chicago Medical Center, examined his practice’s experience with the Oncology Care ­Model, a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services test payment and delivery program...

Thomas E. Starzl, MD, PhD, ‘Father of Modern Transplantation,’ Dies at Age 90

Scientific and clinical pioneers have one thing in common: they move beyond their comfort zone and take calculated risks. One such pioneer, whose calculated risks gave hope to otherwise hopelessly ill people, was Thomas E. Starzl, MD, PhD, who performed the world’s first successful liver...

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