beth israel deaconess medical center a harvard medical school teaching hospital

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  • Scanxiety

    Posted 2/17/2017 by hhill

      Scanxiety, although it may not be in the dictionary, is a real thing. We all know about it. The process itself isn't pleasant with likely needlesticks and possible GI upset after drinking the pre CT scan milkshake. No one enjoys the tight quarters of an MRI, and the special diet before a PET scan is difficult for some. But it's not these things nor the waits in a hospital johnny or conversations with the techs that are so hard. It is anxiety about the results.

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  • Expense and Hype and Uncertain Value

    Posted 2/16/2017 by hhill

      The title pretty much sums up one of the real problems in health care today. Our focus is cancer and cancer drugs, but the same issues apply for many other worrisome medical conditions--or even for some things that are less serious but worry people.

      This issue comes up almost daily in my work as I talk with people who have advanced cancer, have discussed a potential new drug therapy with their doctor, and are very distressed re how to proceed. The upset is, of course, primarily due to the overall situation of having advanced disease, but it is really upsetting to believe that a particular medication might help and then discover that the cost/co-pay/co-insurance/deductible is going to be thousands of dollars a month and that there is no certainty that it really will help.

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  • Scalp Cooling and Hair Loss

    Posted 2/15/2017 by hhill

      This topic has been discussed before, but it is getting more attention as evidenced by a brief article in Jama Network yesterday. This coincided with a decision here to begin a three month pilot program to offer appropriate patients up to $500 to purchase a set of cooling caps. We do have a freezer in the Infusion Area, but the logistics are difficult. A woman must begin wearing the cap 30-60 minutes before the infusion and continue doing so for a similar period of time afterwards. The caps must be changed every 30 minutes. This clearly means that there needs to be a companion who is responsible for the fetching and changing; neither the patient nor the infusion nurse can manage this.

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  • Fake News

    Posted 2/14/2017 by hhill

      OK, this isn't really fake news, but I am trying to stay current, and I thought that phrase might grab your attention. A more honest title would be something like: Be careful of what you read or Always consider the context. Much less attention grabbing....

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  • Some History

    Posted 2/13/2017 by hhill

      This is something for a snowy day. While I was spending the day indoors by the fire yesterday, I enjoyed reading this cancer history, and hope that you might, too. Yes, I know that the storm has ended, but you may still need a break from shoveling.

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

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About the Blogger

Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C is the Manager of Oncology Social Work at BIDMC. For more than thirty years, her daily work at BIDMC has been primarily focused on supporting women with breast cancer. A nationally known writer and speaker, she was the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation's first Hatcher Survivorship Professor. In 1993, and again in 2005, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through the standard treatments of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and hormonal therapy. These experiences have given her great credibility with her patients and transformed her life's work to her life. Ms. Schnipper lives gratefully with her husband in an ancient farmhouse outside of Boston and spends as much time as possible in a water front cottage on Mt Desert Island. Between them, they have five adult children and seven grandchildren; she claims biological responsibility for two and three of them.