You know I am a cancer survivor – 15 years down the road from a leukemia diagnosis and enjoying a 10 year remission. So whenever something seems weird about my health it’s cancer coming back, right? Wrong! Just how wrong was proven last night. I am writing this from my hospital bed in Seattle. The first symptom of a possible problem came three days ago when I had soreness in my right calf. A pulled muscle? Maybe. But I had not noticed straining it. Back at the gym the next day I had soreness again but thought it was no...

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What? Just what am I talking about? Give me a minute. More and more people are telling me too often they are encountering doctors who 1) don’t look them in the eye 2) don’t listen to them 3) don’t touch them or get anywhere near them and 4) stay focused on their a) computer b) smartphone or c) iPad. More of us are saying we are “mad as hell and are not going to take it anymore” just like the character in the movie “Network” years ago. We find another doctor. I am happy to report that an increasing number...

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Since being diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) 15 years ago, I’ve met a lot of other patients along the way. As time goes on, I realize how lucky I have been to never get very sick, to respond well to treatment, and to lead a full life today while taking no medicines. My original CLL crowd from years ago didn’t all do so well. Perhaps the genetics of their CLL were different and they’d been dealt a tougher “hand.” The other day I found out with finality that that was the case for a neighbor, Dr. Paul Benca. Paul...

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Greetings from Breckenridge, Colorado. At 10,000 feet, I am told it is the highest resort town in North America. The Rocky Mountain scenery is breathtaking. But there’s a problem for about one in four of us who visit here, especially people like me who live at sea level. We can get hit with high altitude sickness and a few days ago, I was one of the unlucky ones. What happens is your body isn’t used to the thin air and your blood has difficulty getting enough oxygen to your body. It usually happens at altitudes over 8,500 feet. You get...

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This has been a busy time for my family as my daughter, Ruthie, has just graduated from high school. Because we live in a close-knit, fairly small town, we were all zipping around in the days afterward attending graduation parties. We knew many of the 400 or so young people who graduated. In most cases they are blessed with good health and the prospect of a fun summer followed by a college education. But the health picture isn’t sunny for all of them. I heard this story at one of the parties this weekend: A leader of the senior class,...

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Watch Andrew's latest video blog from Chicago where he attended the 2011 American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual meeting.

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I am off to Chicago to mingle with 30,000+ people from around the world whose passion is curing cancer and helping people who are living with it. In years past I have gone as a journalist to bring you cancer news, but not this year. I was not given a press pass because the organization’s policies are among the most restrictive of any medical society. That’s a story for another day. However, I was invited to attend as a “patient-advocate.” And, at my core, I guess that’s what I am. This year I have a new story to tell. After...

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You may recall, I have a beef with Madison Avenue ad agencies that keep serving up the same New York actors in television commercials for different illnesses. I take it personally. The woman with cancer also has asthma. The man with arthritis also has erectile dysfunction. I feel bad for them! Last night the quest by an actor to find work got ridiculous for me as my wife, Esther, and I were watching one of our favorite shows, “Criminal Minds," on CBS. It was a particularly violent episode where a Bonnie and Clyde-type couple shot their way across Montana and...

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When I was diagnosed with leukemia my daughter, Ruthie, was just two and a half. She has vague memories of our household being turned upside down with worried, hushed conversations and friends and relatives calling A LOT. Because a leading specialist, Dr. Michael Keating from MD Anderson Cancer Center, advised against having treatment right away (something better was coming along), I did not have treatment for more than four years. By then Ruthie was seven. She has vivid memories then of me going off to Houston, accompanied by her mom, for a week of initial treatment and then successive weeks...

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People generally have a sense there might be information on the Web that can help them when they are worried about their health. They also have a sense there is a LOT of information and some of it may be wrong. All of that is true. What is a strategy to find the good and avoid the bad? This morning, I chatted with Mike Collins, host of “Charlotte Talks” on WFAE, public radio in Charlotte, North Carolina about The Web-Savvy Patient and some of my “Insider Tips” within. We talked at length about how you can get started looking for...

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July 2011
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