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  • Insurance Worries

    Posted 11/17/2017 by hhill

      Just when we thought it was safe to stop worrying about the ACA/ObamaCare, we learn that it was a mistake to let down our guard. I try hard to keep this blog apolitical, but worries about medical insurance and our ability to pay for it cross any other political affiliations and opinions. Anyone who is reading this blog has concerns about medical insurance and likely believes that all cancer patients should have access to insurance, access to care, and (ideally) the freedom to focus on treatment and recovery and not on bills.

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  • Donating Biospecimens

    Posted 11/16/2017 by hhill

      This is probably a topic that you have not thought much about. If you have ever read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (and, if you haven't, you should do so), you are aware of the less positive parts of the system. Fortunately things have changed a lot over the decades since her contributions to science, but people still worry about ethics and privacy when considering donating body samples (usually blood, saliva, tissue, cells from a biopsy, etc.).

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  • Cancer Risk and Alcohol

    Posted 11/15/2017 by hhill

      This has been a well-covered concern and topic, but a new report has been issued that underlines the association between alcohol and cancer risk. Note that this study does not reflect data about alcohol and the risk of cancer recurrence, but a commonsense view would be that initial risk and recurrence risk may be related.

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  • Recurrence Risk Lasts and Lasts

    Posted 11/14/2017 by hhill

      This is not good news, but it is not surprising news. We have known that the recurrence risk for women with breast cancer, especially ER positive breast cancer, lasts for a long time. Unfortunately, rarely does a week pass that I don't meet a woman who is ten or twelve or even more than twenty years post diagnosis and now has a first recurrence. Most of us grow past the acute anxiety about our health, but it is reasonable that some uncertainty and caution linger.

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  • The Money Conversation

    Posted 11/13/2017 by hhill

      First, I am back and mostly glad to be home. Not so glad to have left 75 degree weather and glorious blue skies and some beach time. Cyprus turned out to be a beautiful and fascinating island; I would definitely recommend putting it on your list.

      And now back to work. Today's entry is about the difficult conversation regarding costs/prices that you should be having with your doctor. We all know that sex and money are tough and tricky topics, but they both sometimes need honest discussion. As the cost of cancer drugs has risen, so have co-pays and the limits on deductibles. We are all paying more, and we are sometimes paying for some things that may bring little or no additional value.

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Cancer Center
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.