A short note on Good People, the title of a new play at the Manhattan Theatre Club starring Frances McDormand – It’s a simple story, at some level, about a middle-aged woman from south Boston who loses her job. She has a disabled, adult daughter who needs caregiving, and she needs money. She contacts some […]
In my inbox this morning, via ASCO‘s “Cancer in the News” feed: The UK’s Telegraph (5/6, Beckford) reported that as “many as 20,000 British women could avoid developing” breast cancer “each year, if they took more exercise, drank less and ate better.” Latest figures “suggest that 47,600 women developed breast cancer in 2008,” and the […]
A recent audit of nine NYC’s Health and Hospitals Corporation found City Comptroller Liu described as dangerous delays in women’s health care. It takes too long for women to get screening and diagnostic mammograms. The 2009 audit found women at Elmhurst Hospital had the longest waits – 50 working days (that would be 10 weeks, […]
Recently I read the short story, A Jury of Her Peers by Susan Glaspell, with a group of women in my community. The author, with whom I wasn’t previously familiar, first reported on the real 1901 trial of Margaret Hossack, as a journalist writing for the Des Moines Daily News. Later she adapted the story […]
This week a paper came out in JAMA showing a surprising reduction in breast cancer cases among women who had hysterectomies and then took Premarin, an estrogen-only remedy compounded from steroids in horses’ urine. The research merits attention because it’s part of the Women’s Health Initiative and is well-done by several measures: The study is […]
Yesterday I learned that Serena Williams, the tennis pro, has been treated for a pulmonary embolus. My husband found out this morning upon reading the newspaper. He wondered why this would happen to a strong, young, athletic woman. Without delving into the private or specific aspects of her case: A pulmonary embolism, or PE in […]
On Sunday, Feb. 20, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure will host its seventh annual Pink Elegance on Parade fashion show at the Radisson at Lackawanna Station hotel, reports the Scranton Times Tribune. The fundraiser will feature breast cancer survivors and others modeling fashions from Coldwater Creek, Lee’s Denim Diner, Luna Bleu and Suburban Casuals.
Some BC survivors, thrivors, thrivers, in-the-throws-ers and whatever we might call ourselves (I still can’t make up my mind on this) express disdain. Others, lately, convey cynicism, if not frank contempt, for the pink cancer culture in its entirety. Pink is tacky, pretty and possibly too rosy a color to link with the fate of so many sick and dying women.
I half-agree. But then again, I’ve never favored pastels:
I have to admit that when I first read about the FDA’s report tying rare cases of anaplastic large cell lymphoma to breast implants, my mind raced with a strange blend of excitement, intense interest and concern. My thoughts shifted from “wow, that’s really interesting” to “exactly what did the FDA find” to “should I be worried?”
So I’ve decided to write this morning’s post from my perspective as an oncologist
It’s a Pandora’s box, but one that needs be opened. The problem is that if we biopsy every abnormality – such as a minor thickening or fluid accumulation adjacent to a breast implant – we’ll hike up the costs and, more importantly, the complications associated: With every needle stick there’s a risk of infection, additional scar formation and more. On the other hand, you wouldn’t want to overlook a treatable, early-stage lymphoma. Women need to know of the risks of implants, which can only be determined if doctors thoroughly investigate these sorts of complications.
The image of Brooklyn Decker, a real woman and model from Middletown OH, streamed through my Google news feed this morning. I have to admire any person named Brooklyn, the place where I was born. From a post on my BlogHer health RSS: The BlogHer subject is Decker’s diet and exercise secrets: “…no matter how […]
The findings show that it’s safe for women who’ve had breast cancer surgery to work out in a way that includes a careful, progressive upper body strengthening. Weight lifting is not only safe; it can reduce lymphedema in women at risk. But “old wives’ tales” still persist in some doctors’ minds and established medical resources. These need be dispelled.
“I don’t want to get sicker trying to get better and then just end up dying anyway” – Cathy, the 42 year old protagonist, with advanced melanoma, on the Big C.
Spoiler alert: Don’t read this post if you don’t want to know what happens to Cathy in the Big C…After months of unusual and comfort zone-breaking behavior, Cathy
Last night I stayed up late to see the season finale of the Big C. For the first time in watching this series about a 42 year old woman with advanced melanoma, in a near-final scene involving the protagonist Cathy’s teenage son, I cried.
The storyline is moving, finally, in a real and not necessarily happy direction.
Franklin’s story starts like this: She was born in 1920 to a Jewish family in London. She excelled in math and science. She studied physical chemistry at Cambridge, where she received her undergraduate degree in 1941. After performing research in photochemistry in the following year on scholarship, she joined the British Coal Utilisation Research Association (BCURA) and carried out basic investigations on the micro-structure of coal and carbon compounds, and so earned a Ph.D. from Cambridge University. She was a polyglot, and next found herself in Paris at the Laboratoire Central des Services Chimique de l’Etat, where she picked up some fine skills in x-ray crystallography.
You get the picture: she was smart, well-educated and totally immersed in physical chemistry before, during and after WWII. Single-minded and focused, you might say –
This week the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published results of a large study with significant implications for women who consider taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The new findings are based on careful examination over 16,000 individuals, part of the larger Women’s Health Initiative, who were randomly assigned to take either a placebo, […]
Expertise can make a huge difference in clinical outcomes.
I was afraid to get a mammogram because I didn’t want to learn I had cancer….I feared having a “false positive,” and undergoing multiple tests to evaluate abnormal images that would turn out to be nothing…I didn’t have time for all that…
For two days I’ve been traveling on a short road-trip with my family in Upstate New York. As far as this turning to a medical lesson, all I can say is that for the first time in my life I witnessed, first-hand, the vaguely digital, elongate and eponymous geography of the fine Finger Lakes…
…Live Each Day Like There’s a Lot of Them Left….What she articulated is the idea that maybe the best thing to do after cancer is to live, essentially, as you would do otherwise, except with a bit of added balance:
The Big C’s plot includes at least two “atypical” and potentially complex features. First, Cathy chooses not to take chemotherapy or other treatment. This intrigues me, and may be the show’s most essential component – that she doesn’t just follow her doctor’s advice. Second, she doesn’t go ahead and inform her husband, brother or son about the condition, at least not so far…