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EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors in lung cancer: make no assumptions

by B. Melosky

The systemic treatment options and algorithm for stage iv non-small-cell lung cancer have changed tremendously since 2005, leading to improved survival and quality of life for this group of patients. But the changes have also led to confusion and complexity for the oncologist deciding on which treatments to use and the order of those treatments for the best benefit of their patients.

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Cancer Control: Life and Death in an Unequal World

by S. B. Sutcliffe

Cancer and non-communicable diseases ( ncd s) sharing common causal risk factors are not under control. Of 57 million deaths worldwide in 2009, cancer and ncd s (diabetes, mental illness, and heart and pulmonary diseases) caused 36 million, or almost 65%. Among 12.9 million patients with new cases of cancer, 7.6 million died of their disease (approaching 60%) 1. By 2030, 27 million new cases of cancer will have been recorded, along with 17 million deaths—again, almost 65%. During the same period, 80% of all deaths (52 million) will be caused by ncd s.

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Getting to Om: How Cancer Drove a Bulldog Litigator to Meditation

by Sarah A. O. Isenberg

I was pretty much the last person you’d think of when you thought “Zen.” I was a driven lawyer, a litigator, no less. I worked 90+ hour weeks. I drove fast, talked fast, and ate meals on the run. I didn’t nap; I hardly slept. I was on the fast track to corporate and personal success: loved work, just got married, recently bought a house, was trying to have my first baby. I was checking all the boxes on the “Young Adult Success” checklist. But then, at 32, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I was blindsided. No family history, no inkling, even, that I could ever have gotten cancer. It was found by accident. It was sheer luck. Nothing palpable. But it was cancer, and worse than we thought. I would need chemo, then radiation, then tamoxifen for five years. So while my contemporaries’ lives were on a trajectory for the exciting, I was sidelined.

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Divorce During Breast Cancer Treatment

divorce2by S. David Nathanson MD

I told my patient Sandy that she looked ‘wonderful’ when she greeted me at a fund raising event, dressed in an elegant form-fitting outfit that revealed nothing of her breast cancer surgery done 4 years ago. She no longer wore a wig since her own hair had grown back quite thick and lush after she completed chemotherapy.

‘Well, it may be because I lost 180 pounds,’ she responded.

I didn’t remember her as being morbidly obese when I treated her initially so I was puzzled. Enjoying my confusion she said gleefully: ‘My husband left me.’ Apparently she herself had not lost weight but she thought of her ex-spouse as a weight on her mind, and he was gone. He couldn’t cope with her surgical wounds and then with her baldness from chemotherapy. He distanced himself emotionally and didn’t support her, stayed in their house until she started radiation after completing surgery and chemotherapy and then left as divorce proceedings were initiated.

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Working During Chemotherapy


by Kristine Nally, B.S., Microbiology

Whether or not to continue working can be an important concern for individuals preparing for chemotherapy.  However, there is very little published research regarding work patterns, factors that affect the decision to work and support from employers during active cancer treatment.  The decision and indeed the ability to continue working is highly individual and may be affected by physical and mental health, type and stage of cancer, age, type of work and finances.

For many people, working is an integral part of feeling “normal” and can have a positive psychological impact during a difficult time.  In addition, the increased length of cancer treatments means that some people will need to work for financial reasons.  Luckily, there have been great advances in the treatment of chemotherapy related side effects and some people that want to work, find that they can.

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