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 Showtime on cable TV there’s a series, The Big C, where actress Laura Linney plays a teacher with melanoma and a year to live. The good news is they had a second season!
My point is there are now nearly 12 million cancer survivors. Three of work them at Patient Power (one is me, almost 61, one is in her 50’s, one is just 18). More and more of us do not have just months or a year to live. We are true survivors. We have to start watching our cholesterol and taking baby aspirins, we have to watch our weight, plan for retirement or manage a fixed income. For the young one, it’s plan for college. We have to think about who we might vote for in the next election. We are LIVING! Maybe for a full lifespan, maybe not, but living each day with purpose.
Yes, it’s true there could be “another shoe” that drops, Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Andrew's Blog*
Pat Elliott, me and a HUGE cactus at Banner MD Anderson!
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 the meantime, one interview stuck out for me; the one with the Banner Health President and CEO, Peter Fine. Peter is in his late 50s and is a health care industry professional who has been guiding Banner Health and its 23 hospitals well for over a decade. For the past several years, Peter has been strategizing the building of a major cancer center on one of his hospital campuses. Peter knew he would need a renowned partner to make it successful and three years ago he chose MD Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston, consistently ranked as the nation’s #1 cancer center (and where I was treated in a leukemia clinical trial).
Even before the partnership contract was inked, a strange thing happened. Peter found a swollen lymph node in his neck and it didn’t go away. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Andrew's Blog*
Let me start by saying I really like MD Anderson Cancer Center. There is a lot to like. Take their tag line for example: “Making care history.” If anyone finds a cure for this cancer or that cancer, MD Anderson will have a hand in it, I’m sure. Hospitals could also learn a thing or two about the meaning of comprehensive care, clinical integration, and customer service from MD Anderson is well.
I have another reason why I like MD Anderson so well: They saved my wife’s life. You see, she was diagnosed back in November of 2004 with stage four non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). As anyone familiar with lung care knows, lung cancer is a very tough adversary. It’s an even tougher adversary when your insurance company insists that your local community hospital and oncologists are “just as good” as MD Anderson’s in terms of quality and outcomes.
You guessed it. In 2004, my wife and I had to fight long and hard to get our insurance carrier to authorize my wife care at MD Anderson, an out of network provider. I’m happy to say we won that fight back in 2004 and again just last week when my wife’s employer’s new insurance carrier refused to authorize her continued care at MD Anderson. You see, her new carrier wanted to rehash the whole medical necessity thing all over again.
Now you would think that a world-class organization like MD Anderson would do everything possible to help prospective patients deal with these kinds of insurance issues. After all, they seem to do everything for you once care is authorized. But you would be wrong. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Mind The Gap*
We sometimes forget that public transparency can be scary. I’ve found this particularly true for doctors. And they tell me so. This tweet from MD Anderson’s Dr. Garcia-Manero hints that the daily digital repartee that I take for granted isn’t so easy for the newbie:
And this comment came in today from a rheumatologist, Dr. Irwin Lim of BJC Health. It illustrates nicely the hesitancy physicians sometimes feel:
Our clinic’s business manager was pushing me to blog as a means to improve the profile of our group musculoskeletal clinic. I found myself quite afraid of this, as I had not previously participated in social media. I was also wary that I could not control patient comments. Eventually, I tiptoed into LinkedIn. I then started reading blogs and came across yours. Your posts have been very useful and have improved my resolve. A few days ago, I posted my first blog, and have since written a total of 6. It’s been quite enjoyable so far. The social media consultant engaged by the clinic wants me to now create content for YouTube. Some fear has returned, but I’ll hopefully be able to get over this, too.
Is fear specific to doctors? No, but I think the issues are magnified with medical professionals. Image, social voice/personality, permanency, and fear of legal repercussions are among concerns that are disproportionately felt by doctors. So can we mitigate this fear in any way and break the barriers to entry for doctors? Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*