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Outlook for Cancer Clinical Trials While the Pandemic Still Rages

2021 has already been “a lot” in internet meme-speak, and we’ve only just seen the end of January. In all of the digital exhaust on COVID vaccination(s), insurgency at the Capitol, and “is Biden doing things right, or nah?” the issue of cancer research seems buried under the fog. That’s not to say that the […]

We survived 2020! Now what?

I may be tempting fate by saying we survived 2020 when there are still 10 days left in the year as I write this, but I’m willing to take the risk. 2020 was officially “a lot,” with a global pandemic, a US presidential election marked by a level of vitriol not seen since the run-up […]

Health Equity: Is There a Paradigm Shift Underway?

Spurred by the most recent PEN #PatientChat on Twitter, on Nov. 13, 2020, it felt like a good time to explore what appears to be a paradigm shift in the American healthcare system toward health equity. The phrase paradigm shift was coined by philosopher Thomas Kuhn, forming the core of his magnum opus, “The Structure […]

Growing Up (As a Patient)

For people who find themselves on the receiving end of a diagnosis – a chronic condition, or cancer, or a rare disease – during childhood, the transition from “kid” to “adult” can include making transitions from pediatric-wing medical specialists to adult-medicine specialists for their particular condition. This transition from child to adult can kick off […]

The Nitty Gritty on Care Partnering

For those of us who are sometimes patients, and at other times care partners, it can be useful to have a checklist to make helping a friend or family member navigate cancer treatment, or treatment for any other medical condition. Here’s a short list that can be used in any patient-with-a-bedside-care-partner situation. If you have […]

It’s a Misinfo-demic Out There

In the months since the WHO said that SARS-CoV-2, also known as COVID-19, was causing a global pandemic – that happened on March 11, 2020, for those of you keeping track of historical dates – there’s been an explosion of information and scientific exploration related to COVID-19. Everything from pre-prints of studies on MedRxiv (pronounced […]

Dealing with a Cancer Diagnosis During COVID-19

There’s never a good time for a cancer diagnosis. Getting a cancer diagnosis, or dealing with ongoing treatment for cancer, during a global pandemic makes a hard thing feel almost impossible. “Can I even get treatment right now” is a question I’m hearing from a number of cancer community members around the world. This is […]

Social Determinants of Hope

Back in April, I talked about the COVID19 pandemic, sharing some of the reliable sources I track for science and evidence-based information on the virus, its spread, and how public health and health policy types are working to get it under control. Last month, I tackled the uncertainty that’s embedded in our pandemic times – […]

Uncertainty, Science, and You

Feeling uncertain, or even frightened, in our current COVID-19 global reality? You’re not alone. Uncertainty reigns pretty much everywhere these days, despite confident pronouncements of one kind or another from political leaders, pundits, and even scientific experts. The good news is that uncertainty is a key feature of science; the bad news is that humans […]

Cutting Through the Panic in a Pandemic

It’s been an interesting year so far, 2020. We – as a nation, as a global tribe, as a species – find ourselves on the front lines of what feels like the zombie apocalypse, or at least a documentary version of the Steven Soderbergh movie Contagion. It seems like every day brings worse news, and […]

Checklists Aren’t Just For Clinicians

Checklists – lists of requirements for completing tasks without errors or omissions – are common in many industries. Aviation, software engineering, litigation, manufacturing all rely on the use of checklists to accomplish their objectives – no crashes, no bugs, no missing evidence, no missing parts. When Atul Gawande’s bestselling book “The Checklist Manifesto” landed in […]

Surprise Billing, Cancer, and You

One of the most nagging issues patients face in the American healthcare system is the risk of what are called “surprise bills,” billing for procedures or treatments that are provided by out-of-network physicians or facilities. While most of the headlines about surprise billing have focused on emergency treatment, there are also cases where treatment for […]

Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

Ready for its closeup, or not ready for primetime? Headlines about the advent of artificial intelligence, AI, in pretty much every sector of human life or enterprise seem to be a daily occurrence. Other phrases that get thrown around in stories about AI are machine learning, deep learning, neural networks, and natural language processing. Here’s […]

All I Want for Christmas … Is a Better Scientific Publishing Model

Scientific publishing is broken. That may sound like hyperbole, but it’s not – there’s a rising tide of voices, in academic and policy circles, as well as from the general public, calling for change in how science is reported professionally. The traditional scientific publishing model – the one that’s rooted in “publish or perish” – […]

Cyber Hygiene – Peer Support in the Age of Surveillance Capitalism

Unless you’re a visitor from another planet, you’ve probably seen or heard some news about the internet being a giant privacy sinkhole. Between the stories that first started to break in the Cambridge Analytica/Brexit aftermath, and the ongoing drip-drip-drip that is the “my phone is a snitch” stuff that seems to bring fresh scary headlines […]