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  • A Poem

    Posted 6/22/2017 by hhill

      One of the pleasures of writing this blog is the freedom to share whatever seems appropriate and interesting. Today that means a poem by Helen Dunmore who died recently of cancer. It is moving and lovely.

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  • Wonderwell with Couples Day Two

    Posted 6/21/2017 by hhill

      If I ever again am unable to trust the universe, please help me to remember this experience. I was concerned about this first retreat for couples living with advanced cancer, both because it is a first and because our numbers were smaller than anticipated. Turns out there was no need at all for even one moment's worry.

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  • Wonderwell with Couples

    Posted 6/20/2017 by hhill

      If you are a veteran reader of this blog, you know that I come twice a year to Wonderwell Mountain Refuge in Springfield, NH with a group of women who have advanced cancer. These three day retreats have always been marvelous, and I decided to try a similar program with couples. Helped by my colleague, Frank McCaffrey, we are here with four couples living with advanced cancer.

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  • A Little Breast Cancer History

    Posted 6/19/2017 by hhill

    Not infrequently, I am embarrassed by what I don't know. There is so much that I don't know! This is an example of just learning about Dr. Angela Brodie who is credited with the development of the AIs (aromatase inhibitors) that are used to treat ER positive breast cancers. Dr. Brodie died at 82, and the accolades are pouring in. And I am wondering why and how I never before heard her name.

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  • Cancer Drug Costs

    Posted 6/16/2017 by hhill

      This is a companion piece to yesterday's entry about doctors not discussing prognosis with their patients. Not a surprise, but they don't often discuss costs either. In my mind, the two issues are closely related. We all know that many new cancer drugs are hugely expensive, and that many people have very high deductibles or co-pays. It is not unusual for a patient to be asked to spend a couple thousand dollars/month/cycle towards the total cost of a drug. Lots of people can't do that.

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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.