Voices

09  Jan  14 erin-stevens category Erin Stevens

Are We Measuring Correctly? | Erin Stevens, MD

Metrics are becoming very important in the treatment of cancer. As physicians, we want to know that all patients are being given the correct treatments for their disease. We can measure this by using databases and codes. Nationwide, we use these metrics as a way to tell us how far we have to go get all patients to receive the standard of care. We also have metrics on end of life care and things we should avoid with our cancer patients, including hospital admissions and chemotherapy in the last two weeks of life. But sometimes numbers do not tell the whole story.
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Voices

04  Apr  13 eijean-wu category Eijean Wu

A View from the Trenches | Eijean Wu, MD, MPP

The line starts forming outside the building around 6:00 a.m. When I walk from the parking lot to the cafeteria to get my morning coffee, I see my patients, crowded under the awning, ready for the monthly ritual of coming to a county cancer clinic. Many of them have bags packed with magazines and snacks. Some are holding sleeping grandchildren. I marvel at how they have adapted their lives to a clunky bureaucracy that doesn’t respect their time.

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Voices

08  Feb  13 b-j-rimel category B.J. Rimel

‘Is my chemotherapy vegan?’ | B.J. Rimel, MD

BJ Rimel_headshot 2“Is my chemotherapy vegan?”

Despite my 12 years of post-graduate training, I was completely floored by this question.  To be honest, my initial response was not what it could have been.

“I have no earthly idea,” I said, in my best doctor voice.  I left the clinic feeling completely incredulous that anyone with a life-threatening cancer would care if their chemo was in any way associated with animal products.  As a new attending, I initially felt righteous that I had not given in to a long discussion about non-evidence based treatments, and instead steered our conversation back to symptom management, dosing schedule and a review of the side effects she was likely to experience.

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