Archive for the ‘Cancer Patient Resources’ Category

Cancer Online: How Much Information is Too Much?

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

Our computersThis is sort of a tricky topic, but it really needs to be addressed:

On the one hand, it is very helpful for patients to learn what they can about their condition, to be active participants in their own care. And Web-based access to information has made this do-able in a way never before possible.

On the other hand, it is very important for patients to understand pitfalls that await them out there when they look up the myriad pertinent facts relating to their diagnosis. It is vital for patients and family members to realize that not everything they read is accurate, or properly presented in context. (more…)

Coffee and Cancer: Studies Show Coffee Decreases Risk of Cancer

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

coffeeSuspected by some and consumed by many millions, the most certain thing about coffee is that it continues to surprise medical researchers. Mildly mind-altering, even toxic in enormous concentrations, “Joe” contains enough potent chemical compounds to justify hundreds of ongoing studies, including large scale surveys by the Harvard and Mayo Clinics, as well as the National Institutes of Health.

These examine coffee’s impact on a large number of our most devastating ailments, from heart disease to diabetes, to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s syndromes…and cancer, of course — many kinds. Each has its own complex mechanism, but here’s a brief and partial synopsis of current research findings:

Cancer Stories: My Myelodysplasia Patient, Nathan

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Death Valley bloomingWhen I first met Nathan 14 months ago, all he thought he was seeing me for was a mild form of anemia.

It turned out to be rather worse than that. At age 70, he had developed bone marrow failure, which carries the technical term “myelodysplasia.” Like all forms of organ failure, the process is slow but inexorable.

With assiduous management, the clinical course is gradual and relatively misery-free. In practical terms, this meant that I met with Nathan once a week for those 88 weeks that he was my patient. (more…)

Statins and Cancer: Cancer Lowers Cholesterol

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

StatinsEvery time I see a patient, and on every visit, I review their current medication list. This process has recently been mandated by Medicare, but most doctors like myself have been doing it all along — without a mandate — because it is just good practice.

What I often find are medications given to patients for the purpose of prevention. And the most notable of these are the “statin” drugs, i.e. drugs that claim to lower cholesterol. (more…)

Doctor, I Want a Cancer Scan: Trusting Your Doctor

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

PET scanBy Dr. Stephen Iacoboni |

It seems more and more often I have patients who come in and insist on getting some special scan ordered for them. Their rationale invariably consists of either, “I have a friend whose uncle is getting lots of scans for his cancer,” or “How do we know if my cancer is really gone if we don’t get another scan…?”

Believe me, I am very sympathetic to the sentiment behind each of these concerns. But what’s most important is to address the root causes of these concerns with education and mentoring — a far better approach than needlessly spending thousands of healthcare dollars of no medical value. (more…)

Cancer Stories: At Long Last, Finding Closure

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

Death is not the endThis is a true story, and a painful one at that. I have been reluctant to tell it, but now I feel I must. It says so much about life, love and loss. (more…)

How To Talk About Cancer

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

talk to me

Getting by with a little help from your friends

“This much I can tell you from experience: for many of my patients, part of their dilemma results from an unspoken conspiracy of silence. People do not want to talk about imminent death in modern Western culture, save possibly with a few trusted family members or friends.” – Dr. Stephen J. Iacoboni, The Undying Soul, “The Lonely Vigil”


Pet Therapy: Cancer Patients, Pets and Comfort

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

sad, serious dog looking at the cameraAn article on Caring4Cancer reports: “While connecting with other people is vital, sometimes connecting with a pet is just as good, or even better because it is so simple and easy.”

Because the stresses of cancer can feel overwhelming, so is the need for relief. That makes it even more important that patients don’t miss out any source of comfort they can find. (more…)

The Importance of Health Provider and Patient Advocacy

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

Help!“I can’t do it myself” (and neither can we!)

Like it or not, we live at a time when the primary responsibility of most HMOs and health insurance corporations is to their stockholders. That can be very bad news; and, too often, presents patients and families with frightening challenges when they’re least able to manage them.

And, often, the presented issues are as critical to your treatment options as they are to your financial affairs. Among the too-common questions are these: Why won’t my insurer pay for this treatment, or that medication? Why does my 20% co-pay leave me responsible for 40% of my costs? How can my long-term care insurer cancel my policy when they find out I need convalescent care? (Remember, the stockholders want as much of your money as they can get.) (more…)

Cancer Patient Resources: How to Pay for Cancer Treatment

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

International Money Pile with Free Cash and Forex CoinsCancer patients are often unaware that there are many resources out there that provide assistance to people at various income levels and circumstances. The problem is that many of these resources prefer to allocate their funds directly to those in need, rather than on promotional campaigns that might help folks to find them. (more…)