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  • Clinical Trials

    Posted 7/25/2014 by hhill

      A few basic facts about clinical trials to remember:

    1. They are designed to test new drugs or procedures or, sometimes, equipment in all areas of medicine; they are not reserved for oncology care.

    2. Everything we know about what is effective has been learned from carefully designed and executed trials. We all stand on the shoulders of women (and men) who agreed to participate.

    3. They are not only for very sick people. In breast cancer care, there are plenty of trials for women with early stage cancer. Examples would include the one that I participated in long ago that compared concurrent radiation and chemotherapy with the more usual first one/then the other schedule or the current trial that is comparing the benefit of tamoxifen to that of an AI plus a monthly shot to close down ovarian function for ER positive pre-menopausal women.

    4. Most clinical trials do not result in final FDA approval of new medicines.. The success rate is rather small, generally quoted as under 20% for oncology drugs.

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  • What If

    Posted 7/24/2014 by hhill
      For most of us, this is the central issue about living with breast cancer. What if it comes back? Certainly the early months after diagnosis are often dominated by this fear, but it never completely goes away. Slowly, over time, most women find ways to compartmentalize the anxiety, but it pops up in ways both anticipated and surprising. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Link Between Diet and Fatigue

    Posted 7/23/2014 by hhill
      This study mostly falls into the category of "what your mother always told you" and "yes, that's common sense." However, a real attempt to look at the association between post treatment diet and fatigue, with and without the consideration of the impact of regular exercise, is valuable. You are what you eat, as they always saw, and the right foods do help us feel better. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Words and Grief

    Posted 7/22/2014 by hhill
      This is an entry that you may want to skip. It is brutally authentic and very sad, an essay about a young father's slow dying. Written by his wife, Lee Ann Cox, it is also beautiful and true and lasting. I have been thinking about whether or not to share it with you for a while, and have come down on the side of opening with this warning. And then going on to the real gift of her words. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Coping with Treatment SIde Effects

    Posted 7/21/2014 by hhill
      As we all know all too well, cancer treatment inevitably brings side effects. Those side effects are variable treatment to treatment, drug to drug, and are also somewhat different for each person. A drug that causes one person extreme fatigue may not make much of a dent in another's energy level. The lists of possible side effects are always daunting, and, although it is helpful to know what is possible, it is also distressing. Some women prefer not to know more than what they clearly are needing to deal with. Read more... Comments (0)
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