The patients who reach out while in the quicksand of catastrophic illness, like the 49-year-old man who was terminated by his insurance company because he had the nerve to contract brain cancer, are equal parts heartbreaking and inspirational.
A mammography unit that won't do its best to make you comfortable shouldn't be in business. You wouldn't normally volunteer for a colonoscopy where they had run out of anesthetic -- so why volunteer to be abused during a mammogram because they don't train their technicians properly?
How do we know which newly touted treatments really work (i.e., are safe and effective) and which do not? The best way, and one that has led to steady progress in the treatment of many types of cancer in recent decades, is through the randomized controlled clinical trial.
My concern may seem technical, or trivial, but it is neither: It applies to hundreds of thousands of women worldwide who, every year, are trying to make informed choices about treatment of the most common form of breast cancer.
Every parent knows the anxieties and challenges of bringing an infant home from the hospital for the first time. But for the parents of Amir, a tiny Iraqi boy, those worries were multiplied many times.
I am not trying to suggest that we should not have hope. We must have hope for a better day in the childhood cancer community. But childhood cancer remains a killer of our children, and it also remains woefully underfunded and most people are unaware of this fact.
While improvements have been made in the curriculum of American medical schools over the past few decades, cancer prevention is one essential area that is still neglected. The emphasis is on treatment, rather than prevention.
Forty years ago, when Richard Nixon signed the U.S. National Cancer Act, most Americans thought a cure would be found in five years. They thought that if you could put a man on the moon, you could make sure a man wasn't killed by a few rogue cells.
Improvements in medical care for animals and people are advancing at a dizzying rate. As more research is funded, we are discovering things that benefit both ends of the leash, and that makes the practice of medicine more challenging and interesting.
Kristin Gustafson started marketing even before she launched the website that keeps chemotherapy patients, nurses, doctors and caregivers abreast of the latest information available about life in the Chemo Room.