Posts Tagged ‘diagnosis’

05
Nov

New York Times: CT scans cut lung cancer rates. Ciao, Cancer: who pays?

The New York Times reported today that a massive, government-funded study has revealed that annual lung CT scans for current and former heavy smokers can result in a 20% reduction in mortality. That’s great news, since there hasn’t been any effective tool for early detection of lung cancer. But there’s something we need to know–or figure out–and that’s who’s going to pay for it?

13
Oct

Becoming–or simply being–a survivor

Survivorship is on my mind after staying up late last night to watch the first Chilean miner emerge from what he and his 32 coworkers described simply as hell. It had been 70 days since a rock collapse first trapped them in a 600 square foot room more than half-a-mile underground. Many did not expect them to make it—at the time of writing, there are 22 to go, along with four rescuers—but if everything continues to go well, they will all soon be safe on top and see themselves as survivors. What strikes me is that those facing cancer start at the same place—the emergency begins with the disaster of a diagnosis—but you never get the crystal clear answer you’re looking for. That you’re a survivor.

06
Oct

Teach your doc how to talk

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I received a clean bill of health after my brain MRI last week. What I left out is that the way in which I received the news almost killed me.

31
Aug

Want better treatment? Be a good patient!

Last week I learned from my cardiologist that there are two ways elevated cholesterol levels can kill me. The first is by increasing the likelihood of a heart attack. The second is at the hands of my doctor, should I continue to refuse to follow his advice. In his two-year battle to put me on a statin drug, the heart attack argument never worked, but his demonstrated aggravation in our Wednesday morning appointment went the distance toward securing his victory. As I walked to the pharmacy to drop off my prescription, I asked myself why this doctor is so doggedly committed to ensuring my good health—especially given my resistance to following his advice—and pondered over whether we as patients can actually affect the quality of care we receive. After cogitating on this over the weekend, I came to a conclusion—an emphatic yes—and identified things we can do to ensure first-class treatment.

24
Aug

Making babies

I spent last week on the Cape with some great friends from Italy, their three sons, and Netsai, whom some of you know about from earlier posts one and two on dating post-cancer. While the kids—aged 3, 5, and 7—drove me crazy on more than one occasion, I did think about how much I’d like to have children of my own. The question for me, after more than a year-and-a-half of chemo, is whether it’s even possible.

09
Aug

Discovery

In a piece that appeared on Ciao, Cancer! last week, “How to beat cancer: prevention and early detection”, I promised to share how I found out I had a tumor. I have a school teacher to thank, a woman whom I’ve never met. She saved my live—by nearly killing me.

28
Jul

How to beat cancer: prevention and early detection

One of the first things people want to know when they learn I had cancer is how it was discovered. There’s an element of personal concern in this question that’s perfectly natural—if I get cancer, will I know right away?—and I think what folks are hoping to hear is that all cancers in their earliest stages present clear, distinguishable symptoms that will prompt them to follow up with a medical professional. Unfortunately, this is not the case with many cancers, and all people, especially those at higher risk due to things like long-term exposure to carcinogens (tobacco, for example), a family history of cancer, or age (cancer risk naturally increases as we get older), should take a proactive approach to cancer detection and prevention.

17
Jun

Nothing short of awesome

I just got home from an absolutely lovely evening. To the average Dick or Jane, that might mean dinner with friends, or a movie, or a romantic night out. But I’m Duper, and in my world a reception to celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day counts as nothing short of awesome.