October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so I can’t let it pass without commenting on the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) recently updated screening mammogram guidelines.
Before, the ACS recommended annual mammograms starting at age 40.
Now they recommend annual mammograms for ages 45 to 54, with screening mammograms done every other year after age 55.
But, they add, women should still have the choice to start screening at age 40 and have yearly mammograms thereafter.
The confusion arises not only because the ACS is a bit wishy washy on its guidelines, but because the American College of Obstetricians and … Continue reading
Every fall my house becomes a mine field of spider webs. When I go out the front door, I immediately step face-first into a big, black, eight-legged bug. Yuck.
Whether it’s spiders preparing for the winter, or fleas and mosquitoes enjoying the wetter but still warm late-summer days, insects are just more bothersome in the fall.
I remember in my childhood my mother used to carry around a huge can of Raid and practically spray it in our faces when she saw a wasp or fly or spider.
Um, that’s not a good idea.
A recent study published in Pediatrics… Continue reading
I’ve posted before about how expensive it is to be treated for cancer.
Recently, a patient posted on the health blog KevinMD about her experience dealing with not only the stress of metastatic ovarian cancer, but the struggle to stay afloat financially.
I am one of many people today “living” with cancer. I want to focus on the impact cancer has on my personal finances, and this is probably true for any chronic illness, not just cancer.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer at 51 years old. I really
… Continue reading
A few weeks ago I wrote a post about Dr. Farid Fata, the Michigan oncologist who has been on trial for bilking millions of dollars out of Medicare and other insurance companies.
Worse than the fraud is that he actually falsely diagnosed patients with cancer and/or treated them unnecessarily with expensive, harmful chemotherapy drugs.
The good news is that he has been sentenced to 45 years in a federal prison.
U.S. District Judge Paul Borman this week heard stories of brittle bones and fried organs as patients chillingly described the effects of excessive chemotherapy at the hands of Dr. Farid
… Continue reading
For the last few months, my family has been dealing with the reality that my 93-year-old father’s health is failing. Following a health crisis that resulted in his being hospitalized and no longer able to make decisions himself, my mother and siblings all agreed that he would not want any heroic, life-extending treatments.
He survived that hospitalization, however, and is now living in a memory care home. He is receiving excellent (and very expensive) around-the-clock care.
When he was discharged from the hospital, I made it known to everyone involved—his primary care doctor, the visiting home health nurse, and his … Continue reading
July 14—an update to this story: Cancer doctor’s fraud sends him to prison
I read a news story out of Michigan yesterday that almost made me literally sick:
Whistle-blower: How doctor uncovered nightmare; Oncologist’s discovery leads to the downfall of a cancer treatment empire
[Dr. Farid] Fata’s Michigan Hematology and Oncology Inc. (MHO) was the state’s largest private cancer practice in 2013, with clinics in seven cities, its own pharmacy and diagnostic center, and 1,700 patients, virtually all of them assigned to Fata, the tireless physician. Those who needed proof of Fata’s dedication could look to the doctor’s work ethic
… Continue reading
I ran across this video while browsing through YouTube the other day.
It made me smile.
Related post: How to prevent colon cancer
Frugal Nurse… Continue reading
SPF = Sun Protection Factor
An SPF rating is an estimate of how effectively a sunscreen product reduces the time it takes your skin to burn. For example, if it normally takes about 10 minutes in the sun for you to burn, a product with an SPF of 15 extends that time to burn to 150 minutes. SPF 30? Approximately 300 minutes.
Related post: First aid for sunburns
Keep in mind two things about SPF:
1) It is not a super accurate measurement of protection. Different people with different skin types burn at different rates.
2) SPF measures protection from … Continue reading
A group of researchers out of the University of Pittsburgh did an interesting study. They looked at over 400 magazine and TV ads for cancer treatment centers to see how marketers tried to attract patients.
What did they find?
Clinical advertisements by cancer centers frequently promote cancer therapy with emotional appeals that evoke hope and fear while rarely providing information about risks, benefits, costs, or insurance availability.
By far the most used phrases were about “hope, life, survival, extension of life, or cure.”
If you have cancer and want to find the “best” treatment, you might be attracted to … Continue reading
Last month a nurse posted this selfie on her Facebook page with the following message:
If anyone needs a little motivation to not lay in the tanning bed and sun here ya go! This is what skin cancer treatment can look like. Wear sunscreen and get a spray tan. You only get one skin and you should take care of it. Learn from other people’s mistakes. Don’t let tanning prevent you from seeing your children grow up. That’s my biggest fear now that I have a two year old little boy of my own.
I hope a picture is worth … Continue reading