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  • Communicating with Your Providers

    Posted 12/29/2014 by hhill
      In all things and surely in all relationships, communication is key. Since your relationships with your oncology doctors are very longterm, it is especially important that you can communicate with and understand each other. As I write that, I realize there are a few exceptions and at least one modifier. The medical oncologist is usually the doctor with whom you have the longest connection. S/he is the overall leader of your care, bringing in other specialists as necessary. A radiation oncologist, for example, plans and delivers a specific time-limited treatment, and you may not continue to see that person in follow up for too long. The pathologist, whose reading of the first slides, sets the course for everything that follows, but you probably never speak with her. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Treating Chemotherapy Nausea

    Posted 12/26/2014 by hhill
      For most of us, the worst side effects of chemotherapy are hair loss and nausea--sometimes in one order and sometimes in the other. Over the course of my decades in this work, there has been enormous progress made on drugs to treat nausea. I remember when we handed patients little basins as they headed home, knowing that some of them wouldn't even get to their cars before the vomiting began. It was truly horrific; all those fables of people spending 24 hours on the bathroom floor were all too true. Now, blessedly, many people never once vomit through the course of chemotherapy treatment. Some people don't even, thanks to drugs, experience any nausea, but others do still have persistent, unpleasant low grade nausea that the drugs don't eliminate. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Christmas Eve

    Posted 12/24/2014 by hhill
      It is a little different and much the same each year. When I was a child, my family put the tree up on Christmas Eve, and I have always wondered how my parents pulled that one off. In my adult life, this day has been far too busy to include the tree--especially one that included putting on the foil icicles one by one Part of the difference may be that my mother hated to cook, so the dinner wasn't much (can it really be possible that she used to serve canned spaghetti Christmas Eve?) while I spend most of the day in the kitchen. Happily. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Being Close is More than Sex

    Posted 12/23/2014 by hhill
      It has been striking that, in these days leading up to Christmas, I have been having more than the usual number of conversations about sex and intimacy with my patients. It may be coincidental, but I suspect it is related to the relationship pressures that abound this time of year. You can't open a magazine or turn on the television with seeing lots of pictures of happy couples. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Cost does Not Always Equal Value

    Posted 12/22/2014 by hhill
      If you have been paying any attention over the last months, you are aware of the growing conversation in our country about health care costs. Much of it is focused on large policy issues, but some is directly relevant for us. The Choosing Wisely campaign, organized by the Board of Internal Medicine, or the Institute of Medicine's September report about high quality cancer care in a time of crisis have helped focus top level attention on cancer costs. This matters to us individually, to our families, to our country as a whole. Of course, we all want the best possible care for cancer or any illness, but most of us also want care that makes sense and keeps the attention on our own goals and priorities. Read more... Comments (0)
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Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215

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