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  • The Cost of Cancer

    Posted 3/27/2015 by hhill
      I suppose that I could just refer you to NPR's excellent series about cancer, but that would not give me the chance to comment. Today's topic--and eventual link to their report--is about the cost of cancer. I have written other times in this blog about the larger policy issues and the urgent national need for cost containment and difficult decisions Today's focus is more personal. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Professional Patients

    Posted 3/26/2015 by hhill
      Professional Patient is a new term for me. I just read it for the first time in this story from NPR about Dixie Josephson who was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer when she was 56; she is now 71. Clearly, no question, the excellent news is that she is alive. The less good news is that she has been treated 15 times for initial therapy and then recurrences. As you would suspect, all of this chemotherapy has caused many other problems, and she has been less than fully well for most of the past 15 years. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Angelina Jolie Pitt Again

    Posted 3/25/2015 by hhill
      No doubt you have all seen or heard the news that was reported in an Op-Ed piece in yesterday's New York Times.  Angelina Jolie Pitt, who ignited a world wide conversation two years ago when she disclosed that she had undergone prophylactic bilateral mastectomies in response to being BRCA1 positive, reported that a few weeks ago, she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed. She wrote that she had been considering this surgery for a long time, but had resisted because of the premature menopause that would occur. Recent rising blood markers convinced her that the time had come to act. Blessedly, it appears that her actions were timely, and no cancer was discoved during or after the surgery. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Why Has There Not Been More Progress

    Posted 3/24/2015 by hhill
      Millions of dollars and gazillions of hours have been spent on cancer research. Why are we not further along? Yes indeed there has been progress. Examples of that include the real cures that have been discovered for a few cancers (e.g. some childhood leukemias) and the multiple often effective treatments that are now available for many cancers. When I came to work at BIDMC (then BI) in 1979, there was exactly one drug available for women with metastatic breast cancer. It was adriamycin and, once it stopped working, there was nothing else to offer. There is now a long list, but there is still no cure. And no prevention. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Serious Illness and Divorce

    Posted 3/23/2015 by hhill
      This is an introduction to a really fascinating study from Iowa State University about the divorce rate, in couples over 50, when the wife has had a serious illness. Let me begin my comments by noting that my clinical experience has not been that a cancer diagnosis often results in divorce. Read more... Comments (0)
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