One of my favorite Yiddish words is Chutzpah. It literally means gumption. And one of my favorite people with chutzpah is Matthew Zachary, the brain cancer survivor from New York City who founded the premiere organization for young adults with cancer – The I’m Too Young For This! Cancer Foundation. Matthew is a savvy marketer. He uses that skill to get attention for a segment of the cancer population, as he has explained to me many times, that was too long overlooked and whose members felt detached and alone. Not anymore! This week more than 600 young adults in this...

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When you have a diagnosis, you gather information from many sources: specialists in your condition, other patients and educational material on the Web and in print.  So how do you sort through it all, vetting that which is significant for you?  In this video blog, featured on PremeraNews.com, Andrew Schorr suggests one simple idea for getting the help you need to make the right health care decisions and maintain your sanity!

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The other day I interviewed Dr. Paul Schellhammer, a noted urologic oncologist in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Paul is 71 now and is very well known and respected in his field. He is a former president of the American Urological Association. As you can imagine, Paul has treated many men for prostate cancer. All men have a high likelihood of developing it as they age but in the vast majority of cases it is non-aggressive. Increasingly there are men who receive no treatment. It’s simply what doctors call “a finding.” But in 2000 Paul met prostate cancer “up close and personal.”...

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I spent one day last week at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.  I was there for a checkup, having first visited the center 16 years ago. There are several new buildings now and its much bigger, but the leukemia center is still on the 9th floor and many of the people who work there are still the same – only a bit older, just like me. One of the things I love about the leukemia center is that it hasn’t moved. The waiting room is sizeable but quickly becomes jammed with people. They have chronic lymphocytic leukemia or CLL,...

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If you have an acute health problem like a heart attack or stroke, the ambulance will usually take you to the nearest hospital. For something less urgent you will probably go where your primary care doctor refers you. But if you have something chronic and long-term – it could be diabetes, ongoing heart problems, or a cancer – you might have more to say about it and where you choose to get care. And a hospital’s claims of highly rated care or state-of-the-art, multimillion dollar equipment may be only part of the equation. Hospital marketers don’t understand that. In our...

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I have now been in two clinical trials. The first was for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in 2000 and 2001. The second has been since August 2011 for blood clots in my legs or “deep vein thrombosis.” I wanted to share my experiences with you in the hope more people will consider entering a clinical trial. The CLL trial was a phase II trial. It was only at one medical center, MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. The researchers were trying to figure out the best dose and schedule as they combined a new targeted therapy with established chemotherapy drugs....

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It’s often said that most men will die with prostate cancer rather than from it. Autopsies of older men show it’s there even though it never created a problem. But when men are younger prostate cancer is cause for concern. And debate about the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test has not helped. The test’s validity as a screening tool has been widely challenged as has the rush to surgery for many men. That’s why several leading medical centers are urging many men to have “active surveillance” and, even if prostate cancer cells have been identified in the prostate gland, nothing is...

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This month I was honored to be the master of ceremonies at the Personalized Medicine World Conference in Silicon Valley, California. for the second time. About 850 scientists, venture capitalists and physicians attended and most all of them, have many more letters after their name for advanced degrees than I have! These smart folks have been building the technology and processes to enable all of us to receive preventive medicine and treatments that, when needed, are an exact match for our individual biology. Yes, we humans are largely the same, genetically speaking, but those subtle differences can make all the...

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It’s been six months since a warm, swollen right calf sent me to the emergency room at midnight. Ultrasound showed I had a blog clot in my right leg and an asymptomatic one above the knee in my left. Everyone said it was a good thing I sought care because the complication of a pulmonary embolism – when the clot moves “north,” is a really bad – even fatal – event. The whole experience of having a clot and then being hospitalized for a day and a half was surreal for me. Later, I found out it wasn’t just that...

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We talk a lot about cancer on Patient Power. There’s plenty to talk about. But millions more people have a totally different health problem - they have a sick heart. Beyond helping a damaged heart muscle pump as well as it can, even at a diminished level, what if the cells of the beating heart could be repaired? What if healthy tissue could be regrown either in a lab or in a patient’s body so that the squeezing ability of the heart could get back to 100 percent? It sounds like science fiction, right? Maybe not. I love talking to...

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