Treatment

What is Truth?

October 7, 2011 | Categories: Treatment

 

The call came, as they often do, at night.  This time it was a mother who has a teenage daughter battling melanoma.  The family had seen three or four different doctors, each of whom gave different advice on what treatment to pursue.  Now it was decision time, and they had to listen to one person’s advice and ignore that of three other people.  What to do?

The Power of Two

September 30, 2011 | Categories: Treatment

 

When a doctor tells a patient they have cancer, they take great pains to explain the situation.  The better docs will use lay-language and talk about treatment plans and next steps.  More often than not, however, it is a wasted conversation.  A patient hears “you have cancer” then everything else is a blur.  The physician might as well be reciting a Shakespearean sonnet in Swahili for all the good it does.

One More Question

September 2, 2011 | Categories: Treatment

I have written a couple of times about questions patients ask when first diagnosed with cancer:  “Am I going to die?”  “How did this happen?”

Another question I hear emerges later.  It comes after the diagnosis, treatments, surgery and the scans that show no evidence of disease (NED):  “Will the cancer come back?”

Once you are diagnosed with cancer, it becomes part of your permanent landscape and fear of recurrence simply comes with the territory. 

Mother and Child

June 16, 2011 | Categories: Treatment

I just got off the phone with a young woman I met earlier this year who is battling Stage IV melanoma.  During the call she told me, “I have a 2 year old and I worry that I won’t live long enough for my child to remember me.”

Alphabet Soup

May 16, 2011 | Categories: Treatment

I had dinner last night with two melanoma researchers.  One is an M.D.; the other has an M.D and a Ph.D.  The discussion quickly moved to new studies and treatments for melanoma, and the conversation became heavily peppered with acronyms.  BRAF, NRAS, c-KIT, PTEN, AKT, m-TOR. 

Watchwords

May 14, 2011 | Categories: Patient Stories, Treatment

Today’s melanoma symposium in Seattle featured a panel of patients telling their stories.    Some have been fighting melanoma for years.  One was recently diagnosed.  They spoke of their treatments - surgeries, radiation, various drugs – and their side effects.

EPIC FAIL

April 5, 2011 | Categories: Treatment

To say that a patient failed a treatment is to use fairly common jargon in describing a situation in which the patient is no longer benefitting from that treatment.  That doesn’t mean it is the right thing to say, however….

A Hero Called "ipi"

March 25, 2011 | Categories: Treatment

The news is not a surprise.  We have been waiting for it for days.  Maybe years.  I was sitting in my office this morning when the phone rang.  On the line was a colleague telling me the news—the FDA has approved a new drug for metastatic melanoma.

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