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  • More about Exercise

    Posted 11/22/2017 by hhill

      I do know that this topic has been over(?) discussed, but it is important. There is increasing evidence that regular mild to moderate exercise is helpful in cancer-related as well as all the previously recognized ways. I hauled myself out of bed this morning and headed to the gym before coming home to begin the marathon shopping and cooking schedule that means Thanksgiving. I am hoping, probably vainly, that the 45 minutes at the gym may balance the piles of mashed potatoes and stuffing that I am planning to consume tomorrow.

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  • Good News about Herceptin and Hearts

    Posted 11/21/2017 by hhill

      Most women with breast cancer are aware of the "miracle" drug Herceptin/Trastuzumab. Used in the treatment of women who have her2 positive breast cancers, it has made an incredible positive difference in their health. In 2010, the results of four important clinical trials were announced and found that one year of Herceptin plus standard adjuvant therapy significantly reduced the risk of disease recurrence and extended overall survival. At the ASCO meeting where these results were shared, the room erupted with a standing ovation--not a typical medical conference experience. 

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  • When It is Your Mother

    Posted 11/20/2017 by hhill

      This is an introduction to a very lovely essay from The New York Times about a doctor's experience with his mother's cancer. I think you could replace "mother" with "wife" or "sister", and it would be about the same. "Daughter" would be different, I think--and perhaps even more painful.

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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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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.