Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Latest Posts

About Male Breast Cancer, Gynecomastia, And Testing

Most medical centers routinely perform or require that breast tissue be sent to pathology for histologic examination.  The authors of the article (referenced below) question whether this is useful when the breast tissue excised comes from an adolescent male with gynecomastia considering the benign nature of the condition.

Furthermore, the authors point out male breast cancer is rare and when it does occur it is most often in older males, not adolescent males:

In 2009, there were an estimated 1,910 new cases and 440 deaths related to male breast cancer, accounting for just 0.25% and 0.15% of all new cases of cancer and cancer deaths for males in the entire United States, respectively, with historical cohorts demonstrating that the peak incidence of male breast cancer occurs at approximately 71 years of age. More significantly, breast cancer becomes increasingly uncommon among younger age groups.

To look at the issue, the authors did a retrospective chart review  of their patients younger than 21 years of age who had undergone subcutaneous mastectomy for gynecomastia between 1999 and 2010. A review of the literature was done, as was an informal survey of major children’s hospitals regarding their practice of histologic examination for adolescent gynecomastia. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*

Saturday Surgery: $150

My primary care physician has a cash-only medical practice, and he is paid by the hour for whatever he does – be it a phone call, email, office visit, house call, or outpatient surgical procedure. He doesn’t charge higher prices for procedure complexity – that’s factored into the time it takes to complete the procedure. It’s a wonderful model for those of us who’ve chosen high deductible health insurance plans, and pay cash for primary care services. My husband and I save thousands of dollars/year with our plan, and spend a few hundred of that savings to cover our primary care needs. We also have our family physician available to us 24-7 via phone/email, and can generally see him for an in-person visit within hours of a request for one.

Yesterday was a perfect example of the incredible convenience of this model of care – I called Dr. Dappen at 10:30am and asked if we could come in to have a sebaceous cyst removed from my husband’s back. Dr. Dappen said he’d be happy to see us at 11:30am that day, so we hopped in a car and were finished with the procedure by 12:00. I even had fun taking photos for the blog (see below)…

Cost of the procedure: (surgery plus supplies): $150

Days spent waiting for an appointment: 0

Time spent in a waiting room: 0 minutes

Convenience of having a cash-only family physician: priceless

*For more information, check out: Doctokr Family Medicine, Vienna, Virginia*

Pearly appearance of small sebaceous cyst

Pearly appearance of small sebaceous cyst

Excision of sebaceous cyst

Excision of sebaceous cyst

Wound closure with simple sutures

Wound closure with simple sutures

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »