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  • Wonder Drug

    Posted 7/22/2016 by hhill

      I will begin by admitting that the title of this piece, Wonder Drug, is sort of a bait and switch tactic. The so-called drug in question is exercise. Before you hit "delete" or move away from the page, let me say that I have never been an athlete, that I rarely enjoy my daily exercise, that I have never experienced those famous endorphins that are supposed to flood long-distance runners. I have run a marathon, and it was an exercise to convince myself that I could do whatever I needed to do. For that self-confidence goal, it worked.

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  • Follow Up Care after Treatment

    Posted 7/21/2016 by hhill

      Many people are surprised at the rather minimalist approach to follow up care after breast cancer treatment. Ongoing oncology appointments vary, of course, doctor to doctor and practice to practice. There are big differences among different kinds of cancer with some requiring more tests and scans. If there are blood markers that are useful, as in leukemia or multiple myeloma or ovarian cancer, bloods are routine, and other tests may be offered, too. For other cancers, including breast cancer, the standard of care does not usually include invasive tests and is, instead, a clinical exam, a conversation, and an annual mammogram/possibly breast MRI.

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  • Better Survival with Smaller Surgery

    Posted 7/20/2016 by hhill

      In the world of breast cancer, this is a really important study. As you may know, the rate of newly diagnosed women opting for mastectomies rather than wide excision/lumpectomies has really increased. Even more surprising, the rate of women opting for bilateral mastectomies. Approximately 20% of all newly diagnosed women make this choice as opposed to 5% ten years ago. This is stunning. In spite of a great deal of medical data indicating that most of these surgeries are "overkill", women continue to too often believe this is a safer choice. There is, of course, the celebrity influence, too. How many times have we all read about Angelina Jolie's cancer surgery? And remember that her surgery was to prevent cancer since she carries a BRCA gene mutation; she, blessedly, has not had breast cancer.

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  • Some Good News

    Posted 7/19/2016 by hhill

      With all the terrible things happening in the world, it is nice to bring some good news. From CBS News and Healthday  comes this headline: U.S. cancer survivors living longer than ever before. Before I share more from this article, I will add even more good news: in almost all situations, BIDMC's cancer statistics are a bit better than the national average.

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  • Keeping Things in Perspective

    Posted 7/18/2016 by hhill

      Cancer changes our perspective in so many ways. The obvious one is that cancer reminds us what is important: life and love and friends and family. We may make different decisions about how to spend our time and energy; we may end some negative relationships and truly focus on the good ones. We may reconsider our professional lives and change or re-design them. We may spend money a little more easily or we may tighten our belts because of the high costs that accompany our treatments.

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

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