Tom joins us today to discuss denial and why it is a fundamental part of the human experience. He describes how denial, while unhealthy in some situations, can be a healthy coping strategy when facing difficulties. He also explores different strategies to overcome unhealthy denial, underscores the power of having a trusted supporter when facing fear, and highlights how overcoming denial gives individuals confidence and mastery over hardships. [Read more…]

Is Immunotherapy for You?

Bradley joins us today to discuss the historical use of immunotherapy treatment to treat cancer.  We discuss how immunotherapy works and the positive and negative impact it can have on a patient’s immune system. We discuss why immunotherapy treatment works well for some types of cancers but not for others and how it has made significant improvements in the survival rates of patients. We discuss some of the current limitations of using immunotherapy to treat cancer and the need to conduct further research to expand its use to treat other types of cancers. We also discuss what we believe the future holds for using biotechnology therapy, vaccines, and immunotherapy treatment to prevent and treat cancer. [Read more…]

How Hospice Began

The 20th century saw the fast development of medicine and medical intervention. Alongside this incredible advancement came the assumption that medicine could cure anything—and the refusal to believe that something is incurable. For most of medical history, however, palliative care and relief from suffering was not just the norm but the only option. Though medical advancements have lengthened the life expectancy of people, terminal illness and death will always be with us. As Dr. Skip McGovern—co-founder of Green Bay Oncology—puts it, the end of life is a fundamental truth of the human experience. What probably matters more is the quality of our lives as we move toward the final chapters of our years.

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Why All the Blood Tests?

Dr. Bradley Heraly joins us today to delve into the world of blood tests in cancer clinics. We demystify the reasons for frequent testing, clarify the misconceptions about the information they provide, and discuss the present and potential future role of these tests in cancer treatment. We discuss how routine blood tests help doctors determine if patients have sufficiently recovered from treatment and the potential of DNA-based testing in identifying cancer. We also discuss the realities of patient experiences and the psychological impact of these tests and share our perspectives on the evolving technology in the field of Oncology. [Read more…]

Demanding Proof

Matthew and Brian join us today for an insightful discussion discussing the pivotal role of evidence-based medicine, a cornerstone in optimizing patient outcomes and healthcare strategies. This conversation navigates through the historical tapestry of medical research, spotlighting James Lind’s 1753 seminal scurvy experiment as a monumental benchmark initiating systematic medical experimentation. We dissect the principle of equipoise, a crucial element ensuring the ethical integrity and scientific validity of clinical trials, and venture into addressing the frequent anxieties patients encounter regarding clinical trials, providing actionable strategies for fostering critical thinking in health information to address the growing scientific skepticism. Underscoring the transformative impact of patient involvement in accelerating advancements within clinical trials and overarching medical research, affirming its instrumental role in shaping the future of healthcare. [Read more…]

Becoming a Parent after Cancer

Alisa, Mary Jo, and Tony join me today to discuss Alisa’s breast cancer diagnosis and how it impacted her fertility. Tony explains the rarity of breast cancer in young adult women and the unique challenges younger cancer patients face during treatment. He illustrates his experience working with Alisa as both her oncologist and colleague and discusses why her story continues to inspire him. Alisa shares her fertility journey after cancer, as well as her decision to use a surrogate and donor eggs. Alisa and Mary Jo also describe the joy Bodhi has brought to their lives and underscore how his birth has helped them move forward.

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Chemo through College

Alisa and Mary Jo join us today to share their story of resilience, familial support, and the power of hope and love in the face of adversity. They describe Alisa’s journey through breast cancer and how her diagnosis impacted her fertility. They explain how the cancer diagnosis and treatment brought them closer together and illustrate how Alisa navigated her life between cancer and college. They also celebrate Alisa’s son, Bodhi, and how his presence in their lives has brought them joy and hope after adversity. [Read more…]

Cancer During COVID

Chris joins us today to share her cancer treatment journey while facing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and worldwide quarantines. We discussed why she chose to attend her care appointments in person instead of virtually and the challenges many cancer doctors faced in treating patients during the quarantines. We discuss how Chris leveraged her passion for quilting, embroidery, and crafting to not only manage the loneliness and emotional strain of the COVID pandemic and cancer treatment but also to give back to her community. We discuss what immunotherapy treatment is, its benefits and side effects, and its ability to activate a patient’s immune system to fight cancer cells. We also discuss how Chris’s quality of life has been impacted since her cancer diagnosis and treatment and the value of connecting with other cancer survivors through online and in-person communities to find comfort, inspiration, and hope. [Read more…]

The Birth of Chemotherapy

Dr. Ryan joins us again today to discuss the origins of chemotherapy treatment. We discuss how earlier chemotherapy treatments were initially derived from poison and how chemotherapy research and development have improved over the years. We discuss the challenges researchers and medical oncologists faced during the early days of using chemo to treat cancer and how the mustard gas leak in Bari, Italy, impacted medical science’s research into cancer. We discuss how early cancer research paved the way for today’s combination therapy treatments, research, and treatment protocols and why many people are still concerned – and even fearful — of receiving chemotherapy treatment. We also discuss how medications like cisplatin and lorazepam led to improvements in making treating cancer more tolerable while improving cancer cure rates.

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Clinical Trial Myths

Dr. Brian Burnette joins us again today to discuss the myths surrounding clinical trials. We debunk some of the biggest myths around clinical trials and cancer research and why doctors are required to request a patient’s informed consent prior to starting any treatment. We discuss how the enactment of the Affordable Care Act impacted patients’ ability to participate in clinical trial research and why Brian believes it’s in the health insurance industry’s best interest to cover and invest in clinical trial research. We discuss why it’s important to ensure patients understand they are in the driver’s seat of their treatment plan and have the ability to stop treatment or withdraw their consent to participate in a clinical trial any time they choose. We also debunk some of the misconceptions around data and identity security when participating in clinical trial research and how clinical trials have impacted the advancement of cancer treatment as well as the life expectancy for many people living with cancer.
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