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  • 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)
  • Three D Printing and Cancer

    Posted 12/19/2014 by hhill
      First, I do know that it is called "3D" not "Three D", but this blog system will not accept numbers in the title. Having said that, I think this is just wild. Very honestly, I find the whole concept of 3D printing difficult to understand; I wish that I could see a sample, as I suspect that would make it all much clearer--and even more impressive. Thanks to Barbara, I have just read two articles about the possible value of 3D printing in cancer care and in medicine in general. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Stopping Work after Cancer

    Posted 12/18/2014 by hhill
      I have written several times before about returning to work after cancer. Many people take a temporary medical leave during treatment and then return to the job when they feel able to do so. This is a challenge in many ways, both physical and psychological, but a decision not to return to work brings equally difficult issues. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Cancer and Friendships

    Posted 12/17/2014 by hhill
      Especially during this busy holiday season, we all think a lot about our closest relationships with family and friends. It is, I think, safe to also say that those of us who have had cancer truly cherish these ties and acknowledge their importance. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Suggested Changes in Phase One Clinical Trials

    Posted 12/16/2014 by hhill

      First, let's have a quick review of the structure of clinical trials in the United States. There are three phases (there are actually four defined phases, but the 4th is rarely done in the US) of all clinical trials that are described this way in a fact sheet from the NIH:

    Clinical trials are conducted in a series of steps, called phases - each phase is designed to answer a separate research question.

    Phase I: Researchers test a new drug or treatment in a small group of people for the first time to evaluate its safety, determine a safe dosage range, and identify side effects.

    Phase II: The drug or treatment is given to a larger group of people to see if it is effective and to further evaluate its safety.

    Phase III: The drug or treatment is given to large groups of people to confirm its effectiveness, monitor side effects, compare it to commonly used treatments, and collect information that will allow the drug or treatment to be used safely.

    Phase IV: Studies are done after the drug or treatment has been marketed to gather information on the drug's effect in various populations and any side effects associated with long-term use.

    Additional Resource Information on clinical trials can be found at


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