It wasn't so long ago for you and me – and still is for millions of others – that whatever the doctor said was all that mattered. And usually the doctor didn't say all that much. He or she would tell you what they thought was wrong with you and what they were going to do about it. We simply nodded our head and wanted to get well. Then the Internet came along and we started talking to one another. And we started talking about our test results. The newbies would ask the patients who were diagnosed years before, what...

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I have been living in Barcelona for just over two weeks. Each time I go out my door I can literally run into hundreds or even thousands of tourists from all over the globe. They clog the streets and alleys and enjoy the cafes. None of that is bad, especially with a teetering Spanish economy. Since I am a chatty guy – and I have some cute dogs that I walk – I get to speak with people along the way. What I am finding is that they are very curious about new health developments, especially new treatments and research...

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The advent of devices that track personal health and wellness has spawned a movement called the “Quantified Self,” which explores the extent to which self-tracking can lead to self-improvement.  There are even people who use apps to track and chart their moods! But how much is too much tracking, to the point where it becomes a distraction?  Watch this month’s Your Healthcare GPS to learn what I think is the most valuable health indicator you can track.

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Just a quick note to tell you how it is thrilling to meet with our US friends and partners here in Barcelona. Today we had a long lunch with Greg Stephens, executive director and founder of The National CML Society which supports those impacted by Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML). Greg is here for advisory committee meetings as advocates gather from several countries to discuss advances in CML treatment. Patient Power partners with this nonprofit organization and we have worked together to produce many videos on the latest in CML as well as several patient stories. Two more are coming soon. Both Greg...

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Greetings from Barcelona, Spain, where it is hot, somewhat humid and very exciting. I have moved here from Seattle with my family to help us all think more globally - personally and professionally. When it comes to concerns about serious medical issues we all share many of the same thoughts: what is the latest news to help us get well and stay well? Who are the doctors and where are the clinics that are "in the know?" What questions can we ask to ensure we get the best treatment? I have dedicated my life to helping patients get that information...

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The other day I visited my Seattle oncologist. As I entered the elevator to leave, a familiar face turned toward me with a smile. I knew that I knew this man but his name escaped me and he looked different. But he certainly knew me. We entered the elevator together along with his companion, a woman. The smiling man looked a bit jaundiced and he had no hair. As I began to recall how I knew him it hit me his looks had changed – a lot. “What brings you here to the oncology floor?” I asked. The smiling man...

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A freight train is a comin’ and, unfortunately it may knock all too many of us flat. Researchers and experts can see the bright light on the engine and if you touch the tracks you can feel the rumble as it barrels towards us. I’m talking about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Our U.S. population is aging and one in three of us is expected to get hit with such severe memory loss that we will be disabled, even dysfunctional. So in this time of extreme economic uncertainty and slashing of research budgets what can we do to slow the train...

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The other day in the local supermarket I bumped into a neighbor who gave me bad news. She said a friend in town had been diagnosed with a stage four cancer and was in the midst of treatment. The patient is someone I am fond of and I was shocked to hear about her illness. That night I called and spoke with her husband, a very warm and caring man. He told me of the diagnosis, the referral to an oncologist and the move into standard treatment. I asked if they sought a second opinion. No. Did they ask about...

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Anyone with a serious diagnosis knows it not only scares you, it scares the people who care about you. Hopefully, over time, your condition gets better, as it has for me with leukemia. You feel better, are less worried, become more knowledgeable, and you begin to go on with your life. The illness may still be there, and you still you need checkups or some treatment. But you move on. But for your friends who may not nearly be so much in-the-know, they may still be a few steps back in “worryland.” This past weekend I experienced that when I...

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Discussing cancer with adults can be difficult, but most adults have some experience with cancer and can relate to this in some way. How you discuss cancer with children is more complex but I believe there is important good news to share. Last Saturday I was the invited speaker at the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event at the high school in my hometown, Mercer Island, Washington. There are many such events happening right now across the nation. A couple of hundred young people ages 15-18 sat on the grass in the sun as we kicked off the afternoon...

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July 2012
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