Cancer survivorship: 8 key updates from the 2018 ASCO/AAFP/ACP Cancer Survivorship Symposium

In my first year of oncology fellowship, our program director asked us a question:  what percentage of people with cancer survived 5 years or more? At that time, in 2003, the answer was 60%.  I was appalled that fewer than half of us fellows, physicians embarking on a subspecialty training program to devote our careers … Read moreCancer survivorship: 8 key updates from the 2018 ASCO/AAFP/ACP Cancer Survivorship Symposium

Why you might need chemotherapy after surgery: the basics of adjuvant chemotherapy

What is adjuvant therapy? One of the most common questions I hear at an initial visit, as a medical oncologist, is: “My surgeon told me she got all the cancer.  So why am I here?” One of the jobs of the medical oncologist is teaching our patients that cancer is a systemic disease. That means … Read moreWhy you might need chemotherapy after surgery: the basics of adjuvant chemotherapy

Episode 2: The Prior Authorization Games: Where the Odds are Never in Your Favor

Greetings Readers.  I thought I would try something new and start somewhat of a series.  If you didn’t see my original post on prior authorizations, this link will take you right to it. Last week I found myself on the phone, yet again arguing on behalf of a patient, to overturn the denial of the … Read moreEpisode 2: The Prior Authorization Games: Where the Odds are Never in Your Favor

The Puzzle Table

I am pleased to share the link to my newest published narrative essay, entitled The Puzzle Table, published online 10/2/17 in the Art of Oncology section of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.  

The Prior Authorization Games: Where the Odds are Never in Your Favor

I am not the first physician blogger to write about the difficulties of prior authorizations, denials, and appeals, but recent occurrences in my own practice have been so convoluted that I feel they must be shared. The nonsensical denials would almost cause one to laugh, if not for the reality that each denial represents potential … Read moreThe Prior Authorization Games: Where the Odds are Never in Your Favor

Relay for Life 2017: Who is your superhero?

The following post is an edited transcript of my speech given on 7/8/17 at the Relay for Life 2017, Clatsop County, OR.  I am very excited by this year’s Relay for Life theme, “Who is your superhero?” I am excited because I get to work with real-life superheroes every day.  And this morning I get … Read moreRelay for Life 2017: Who is your superhero?

In cancer, there is no place for blame.

I recently read a post by oncologist Dr. Stephanie Graff on the experience of blame, from self and others, that people with cancer are subjected to. The talk about risk factors and early detection makes us think we can achieve perfection, and that cancer is somehow a personal fault…let us stop making accusations and blaming persons … Read moreIn cancer, there is no place for blame.

A sense of purpose in a broken world.

Recently I found myself sitting in my car in the parking lot of my clinic,  unable to will myself to open the door.  I didn’t want to head in to the clinic that morning.  Instead I was filled with despair; overwhelmed with the events of the world. How can I do it? I thought.  How … Read moreA sense of purpose in a broken world.

20 things I am thankful to nurses for as an oncologist

jason lycette photo blooms

In recognition of National Nurses Week: Thank you to nurses for: staying behind in the room with patients and families after we deliver difficult news, not letting us shirk the tough questions, professionalism in the most difficult of circumstances, being partners in care, remembering what size gloves we wear, the phrase, “Doctor, I think you … Read more20 things I am thankful to nurses for as an oncologist

Why your doctor is running late: A Mad Libs

Astoria-Megler Bridge emerging from the fog

(A facetious piece.  Inspired my my kids’ love of Mad Libs) Directions (in case you’ve never played Mad Libs): Play with a friend or colleague. Ask them to say a word for each type of word specified. Read the story using their words to fill in the blanks. Or play on your own, skip down … Read moreWhy your doctor is running late: A Mad Libs

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