I can’t get the 1989 baseball movie Field of Dreams out of my head. That’s especially true right now as I can’t wait for the seventh game of the World Series. My son, Eitan, and I sat on the couch and watched the sixth game last night and it was probably the most exciting game I’ve ever seen. Plot twists galore. You can bet the audience for tonight’s game will be HUGE. What’s so cool in thinking back about the movie is the famous line said to the baseball fanatic farmer: “If you build it they will come.” So he...

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The new book is out about Steve Jobs. You may have already heard that he regretted delaying surgery for months for a type of pancreatic cancer and explored alternatives, including dietary changes. He told his biographer he later came to the conclusion that it was the wrong personal health decision. If you check out social media conversations about health, the value of dietary changes is always a hot topic. Can becoming a vegetarian, for example, arrest the development of cancer or prevent its recurrence? This week I will participate in a webinar on social media and breast cancer. One other...

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If you’ve read my blogs for a while, or look up some past blogs, you’ll see I have been frustrated at times with the FDA. Yes, they have a tough job protecting us from medical products that are unsafe and/or ineffective. But when it comes to cancer, where we have few “homerun” therapies, I wish they were a bit more liberal. A “bunt single” might be good enough. You may have read how I have been critical of Dr. Rick Pazdur, the FDA leader for oncology drug approval. Some desperate patients and family members have referred to him as “Dr....

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It’s too young to die at age 56. It’s too young to die when you have four children and a wife. It’s too young to die when you have led one of the most successful technology companies ever. It’s too young to die when you are very rich, have so much more to do and to give back. But pancreatic cancer doesn’t care. This time, again, one of our most deadly cancers won. Medicines, nutrition, surgery, liver transplant, apparently Steve Jobs, celebrated CEO of Apple, tried them all. But, as I wrote in a recent blog, continuing was just too...

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There must be 100,000 or more non-fiction books that come out every year. You never hear about most of them. The New York publishers bet on a few when the author is well known. They won’t invest in someone they have never heard of – like yours truly. So when I self-published The Web-Savvy Patient a few months ago through great services provided by a division of Amazon that got the book out. Now there’s an audio book version coming out any day on audible.com. But getting published meant many traditional channels for book promotion were not open to me....

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As we often say at Patient Power, there is no one source for medical information. The same is true when it comes to support for patients. No one organization is THE place to go and has all the answers. That may sound obvious. But just as it has taken a long time to dislodge the “Doctor as God” perception or “I’m the doctor and you’re not” put-down of “problem patients,” there have been some non-profit advocacy groups that have seen themselves as the “be all and end all” for conditions they cover. In both cases, the arrogant doctor and the...

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Thank God television and movie script writers are starting to “get it.” Cancer, “The Big C,” doesn’t always kill people, or maim them, or steal their dreams. Lately there have been new TV shows acknowledging cancer as part of life that many can live through. There’s a new movie coming called 50/50 about a young adult man with cancer (important to acknowledge it in this age group!). I hope he doesn’t die in the end. But from the preview, it’s clear he talks to people about it – including young women he is trying to date. It’s a comedy. On...

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When I was growing up I would read about scientists. I had this image of super smart people in white lab coats being some place far away – untouchable – and hunched behind microscopes. Growing up in the 50’s I thought of Dr. Jonah Salk and what he discovered to wipe out polio. No more pictures of people in iron lungs. Fewer people using crutches or wheelchairs their whole lives. Scientists made it happen. But it was a very long time before I actually knew a scientist. After all, I was a journalism major, right? We hung out with the...

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I speak to people in the pharmaceutical industry much more than folks who develop medical devices. I know how pharma researchers spend years and hundreds of millions of dollars trying to develop a useful, safe new drug that the FDA will approve for marketing. Certainly there are big payoffs, but the road is filled with potholes and trapdoors and the analysis by the FDA is rigorous. But for years we’ve been hearing that it is much less rigorous when it comes to medical devices. Artificial hip joints and stents to open blocked arteries fall into this category. And recently, the...

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I am just back from the Phoenix-metro area. It’s now the 5th largest in the United States and despite home foreclosures, there is still a feeling of growth in many areas. Gilbert, a nearby suburb, has expanded to over 200,000 people and a growing major medical center. I spent several days interviewing patients and staff about the soon-to-open, Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center. The hope is that by bringing MD Anderson’s world-renowned expertise, clinical trials and processes to this new center, cancer care around Phoenix and the southwest will be improved. Look for my video interviews coming soon. But, in...

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October 2011
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