I don’t mean to be simplistic. But America’s weight problem is bankrupting our healthcare system and killing us. That extra helping of stuffing with gravy you had at the Thanksgiving table isn’t a problem if you exercise and it’s just a “treat.” But, unfortunately, for too many of us, the big portion, fatty food, and zero exercise is more the norm. On a budget and eating fast food? The typical choices only help send you to the diabetes clinic, and later the kidney dialysis unit. I don’t mean to present everything in black and white. But while we debate healthcare...

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Breaking News: Patient Power’s Dog, T-Shirt, Foundation, and Book from Patient Power® on Vimeo.

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I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago when it became clear the American Cancer Society was mulling over whether screening recommendations should be changed for breast and prostate cancers. The concern, of course is, are some indolent, non-aggressive cancers suspected or discovered and patients are harmed with invasive tests and/or unnecessary or premature treatment – costing billions of dollars in precious healthcare dollars, causing more harm than good, and not statistically saving lives? Now comes today’s news that is sparking a lot of debate and controversy among doctors, patients, and biostatisticians. The United States Preventive Services Task Force,...

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You don’t have to go very far to hear someone’s pain about a serious health condition. Today I heard it at, of all places, the dog park where our pets can run free and play near my house. I go there most mornings with Candy the black lab and little Donovan, our new “Borkie” (7 months old and a combination Bichon Frise and Yorkshire Terrier, sort of a “feisty fluffball”). On this morning I chatted with Bob, a newly retired attorney. As we spoke about what we each did for a living, or used to do, he told me of...

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More and more people are telling me their own Powerful Patient stories. I love it! I heard this one at lunch today in Las Vegas as I reconnected in-person with CLL friend Dave Garcia, 50, a veteran pit boss at the famous Bellagio casino. Dave and I met via the Internet seven years ago after he was diagnosed with CLL. He searched for information and found my story of being in a clinical trial at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. I told him to get on Southwest Airlines and fly to Houston to be evaluated there after he was...

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Healthcare is a business. A huge one. And the financial health of many in the industry is at stake as healthcare reform legislation moves to the finish line. Will it protect higher rates for doctors? Will it provide for millions more people with robust insurance? Will doctors and clinics have more customers for expensive procedures? Or will we finally put an emphasis on prevention, efficiency of quality care, and eliminating costly mistakes? The best ally to lower cost, promote health, and eliminate waste and even fraud is the consumer herself. But you don’t hear much about that. Why shouldn’t 25-year-olds...

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I got an email yesterday from a work friend of my wife. She has been diagnosed with breast cancer and has pretty quickly scheduled surgery at her local hospital. She’d heard good things about the surgeon. Like any woman she wanted to cancer out as soon as possible. Putting inflammatory breast cancer aside for this discussion (because that is really a “three alarm fire” and needs immediate care), I wanted to remind readers that the leading experts agree that the breast cancer cells were probably developing over many months and that treatment decisions do not have to be made in...

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It hit the paper this week. The American Cancer Society is revising its position on screening for breast and prostate cancer because of concerns we may be identifying cancers that are almost benign or might even go away on their own, and that overtreatment is causing harm. We’ve already talked about this on many Patient Power programs. We spoke about how the PSA test might be overused and also how, even when cancer is spotted, watchful waiting or “active surveillance” might be the best course. When it comes to prostate cancer, the wisdom goes: most men will die with it...

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The Role of Powerful Patients in Healthcare Reform from Patient Power® on Vimeo.

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37-year-old Rob McKeregan of Hillsboro, Oregon near Portland worked for years as a tow truck driver. In that line of work you do get called to traffic fatalities. It’s tough. The odds are the vast majority of people who died were not organ donors, either because they had not made it their wish or, even if they had, their family prevented it. Rob reflects on that a lot these days. While he has always been listed as a organ donor, most people are not. That takes a heavy toll because thousands of people die each year while waiting for an...

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