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The US Has The Highest Rate Of Breast Cancer In The World

Even though I live in DC it was my first visit to the Department of State. I was surprised by the level of security (I passed through 2 metal detectors to get to the conference) and the multitude of languages spoken by the attendees. Many were wearing headphones, which were connected to a translator service. The lectures were rapidly translated into the various languages of the audience members (the way it would for the United Nations meetings), though I enjoyed the ability to listen directly to the speakers in my native tongue.
I was able to interview a keynote speaker, Joe Harford, Ph.D., the Director of the Office of International Affairs, of the National Cancer Institute. Here’s what he had to say:
Dr. Val: Why is the risk of breast cancer (in the US) greater now than in previous generations?
Dr. Harford: The main cause of the increase is related to changes in reproductive patterns within the population as a whole.  Women who have fewer children (and later in life) tend to have higher risk of breast cancer. This is associated with hormones – the breast is a hormonally responsive organ and breast cells that convert to tumor cells also have hormone receptivity. Pregnancy and breast feeding are protective for breast tissue. Women can check out their risk for developing breast cancer by filling out this short, online assessment tool at the NCI. Read more »

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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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