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  • Being Mortal and EOL

    Posted 6/29/2015 by hhill

      Today feels like the end of an important era. A very beloved, very long-term patient died early yesterday morning. She had first been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, developed brain mets and received whole brain radiation in 2004 and then lived for another eleven years. There was a high price for this amazingly long survival; she was damaged by the radiation, and the consequences worsened with time. She had increasing troubles with balance/mobility and, eventually, cognitive losses, especially her short term memory.

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  • Potential Value of Acupuncture

    Posted 6/26/2015 by hhill

      Through the years, I have known more people who successfully incorporated acupuncture into their cancer than who used any other CAM therapy. I have seen it be helpful to reduce nausea, fatigue, anxiety, and to enhance an overall sense of well-being. Note that there is a needle-less version for people who are needle phobic. 

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  • Communicating with Your Healthcare Team

    Posted 6/25/2015 by hhill

      It is always (whatever IT is) always about communication. With family issues or work concerns or neighborhood problems, if we can just get the communication right, it is almost inevitable that progress will be made. That is surely true with our health care team. No matter how good your doctor or nurse or social worker or whomever is, if you can't reach them or depend on their response or honestly express your feelings, there is going to be trouble.

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  • Importance of Exercise

    Posted 6/24/2015 by hhill

      I don't blame you a bit if you are pretty tired of this topic. I am, too, but it keeps rearing its' sneaker-wearing head and insisting on attention. As we left the gym a few days ago, my husband commented about how good he always feels after working out. I told him then, and I tell you now, that I have never felt that famous endorphin or lovely rush that others describe. Even when I trained for and ran a marathon, I never experienced anything like a runner's high. For me, it is always just discipline and stubborn behavior and knowing that daily exercise is good for me in several ways. What works for me is just getting out of bed and going to the gym--as in, do not take a moment to think about how much I don't want to do this. Whatever works for you is what you should be--but the mounting evidence is that you should indeed Just Do It.

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  • Cost and Value

    Posted 6/23/2015 by hhill

      This is a recurring theme: the cost and value of cancer drugs. If you have been reading this blog for a while, you have heard some of this before and know that it is part of a larger national movement called Choosing Wisely ( that has been organized by the American Board of Internal Medicine and looks at t cost of drugs and procedures and treatment across all medical specialties.

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Cancer Center
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215

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