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  • Financial Side Effects

    Posted 10/23/2014 by hhill
      Having cancer is really expensive. For all too many families, having cancer is a financial catastrophe. Clearly it makes a difference what the state of your finances is prior to diagnosis. If you have a good job with good benefits, some savings, and an established household, you probably are going to have a smoother time than someone without those assets. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Progress at Huge Cost

    Posted 10/22/2014 by hhill
      We are all acutely aware of the high and rising costs of health care. People with serious illness are especially concerned, worried both that their own bills will become impossible and that various restrictions may be placed on their options. The costs of drugs are a big part of the problem. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Understanding Clinical Trials

    Posted 10/21/2014 by hhill

      There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about clinical trials. Let's begin here with a short fact sheet that has been developed for our patients:

    BIDMC is an academic medical center and a founding member of the Dana Farber Harvard Cancer Center. This means that our commitment is both to excellence in patient care and participation in research to better understand and treat cancer.
    If you are interested in learning more about cancer clinical trials, the National Cancer Institute has an excellent website:
    As you and your doctors begin to consider the best treatment for you, here are some things to remember about clinical trials:
    ** Clinical trials are conducted in every Department throughout the Medical Center.
    ** Clinical trials are designed to help patients with all kinds of diseases and problems. They are not only for very ill people who have no other options.
    ** Everything we know about good treatment for cancer is because people have agreed to participate in trials in the past. Everything we are learning for the future is because people are now willing to consider being part of an appropriate trial.
    ** If you would like to know more, talk with your doctors.

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  • One Step Ahead of Cancer

    Posted 10/20/2014 by hhill
      As we all know, once cancer recurs/metastisizes, it is no longer curable. For most kinds of cancer, it is quite treatable, but this means that the patient faces a life-time of treatment--with a lot of frightening anxiety re the length of that life-time. Doctors often refer to recurrent/advanced cancer as a chronic disease, but that always feels not quite right to me. When I think of a chronic disease, I think of things like asthma or diabetes or high blood pressure which can often be treated to insure a normal life span. Except in rare instances, that is not the case with advanced cancer. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Dietary and Herbal Supplements

    Posted 10/17/2014 by hhill

      A few days ago, I wrote about the frequent use of CAM (complementary/alternative medicine) by cancer patients and survivors. The estimates of how many people use these modalities are varied, but we all know that most people at least think about the possibility. As I have said before, one really important thing is to make sure that your doctor (and any other practitioners whom you are consulting) knows what you are doing. For example, there is concern about anti-oxidants interfering with radiaiton therapy, and radiation oncologists ask their patients not to take more than a simple multi-vitamin during active treatment.

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

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