Yes, I know, there's a book by this title. No matter what, I struggle with the idea. Yesterday it hit me in the face. I put in a call to Ruth Ross, a Seattle insurance company sales representative, who will be a guest on my radio show Sunday. She won't be there to sell insurance but rather tell her story of fighting brain cancer – a large malignancy that was found last January on the left side of her brain. Ruth was upbeat yesterday. Surgery by our other guest, neurosurgeon Dr. Gregory Foltz, and follow-up chemotherapy and radiation has given...

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On my talk show Friday I featured Trisha Gura Ph.D. a Boston-based author of a neat new book: "Lying in Weight: The Hidden Epidemic of Eating Disorders in Adult Women." Not surprisingly, Trisha has fought eating disorders herself as a teenager and again as a adult. What was neat is that she is using her skill as a writer to speak out from a personal perspective and also add plenty of information from others about a condition that affects millions. Interestingly, Trisha has her advanced degree from Northwestern in molecular biology. But now she is using her smarts with a...

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This is getting to be a fun time as more voices can be heard inviting us to be "smarter patients." I've been at this a long time and it was great to have two neurologists (Dr. John Castaldo and Dr. Lawrence Leavitt from Leheigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, PA ) on my talk show who, in this time of high tech medicine, are urging doctors and patients to step back a minute and work on communicating and listening better to each other. They are also echoing what I say about the importance of the patient being at the center of...

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If you are a cancer patient, 29,000 people who could help save your life have been meeting in Chicago the past few days. It's the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology or ASCO. This is what I call the "World Series of Cancer" where everybody who is anybody shows up. Of course, I skipped it so I can host programs with those experts from the comfort of my studio in Seattle. Later this week we'll have a live program with Dr. Margaret Tempero from the University of California San Francisco Medical Center. She is a top expert...

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It's been a blur here at Patient Power as we produce 7-8 hours of new talk shows each week with some of the nation's most credible health and medical experts. And there are some recurring themes worth talking about. One is the idea of "personalized medicine " – identifying not just what disease or condition you have but the subtype, and then giving you a treatment for that subtype that might be different from what is offered to someone with the a little different version of the "same" diagnosis. The hope is that will lead to the use of medicines...

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I have been interviewing many authors lately. Sure I want to hear about their new book and some of the details of the content. But much more fascinating is WHY they wrote the book and how it changed them. And the discussion makes for some very compelling talk shows that I hope you will check out. Elizabeth Cockey, an art therapist from Baltimore, is a good example. A few years ago she was at a low point in her life: little money, and then an urgent call that her grown son was near suicide far from home. She rescued him...

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The other day I interviewed Dr. Chuck Murry, a cardio-pathologist at the University of Washington. His lab has worked for years trying to figure out how to use stem cells – cells that can make other cells for specific uses in the body – to help regenerate heart muscle tissue. It's a big scientific challenge and an important one. As all too many people have occluded heart arteries, blood supply to the heart muscle is either limited or cut off. That can lead to a heart attack and almost immediately some or all of the heart muscle begins to die....

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I continue to recognize it takes work to be a patient these days. You truly have to "get smart" to make better choices. While we want someone to just tell us what to do, it is no longer so easy. The other day I interviewed Sabeen, a 17-year old young woman from Knoxville, Tennesee. She has been treated for osteosarcoma – bone cancer in her pelvis. She had chemotherapy in her hometown and surgery was recommended, but she would have faced radical removal of bone. Her family searched for a better approach and they found one her doctors didn't know...

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This week I celebrated my 11th year after CLL diagnosis and remain – post treatment, as best as I know, cancer free. I was in a clinical trial almost seven years ago and it worked! As part of my celebration I am hosting a 1 hour free-ranging online talk show with my doctor, Dr. Michael Keating from University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. It will be next Monday, April 16th from 10-11 am Pacific, 1-2 Eastern. You can find it live at Patient Power or HealthRadio.net I will always be indebted to Dr. Keating for his expertise in...

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Many people were downloading slides from our website these last few days with clinical data about a drug called Genasense. It has not been approved by the FDA and I am among patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia who think the FDA and its advisors have not given the sponsoring company, Genta, a fair shakeGenta, a small biotech company, has filed an appeal. It's like walking into the lion's den again. Very gutsy. And I applaud them for taking this step. From my investigation, the FDA has some powerbrokers within it – government bureaucrats who may not get paid a lot...

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June 2007
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