Lies, Damn Lies, Statistics, and Research Studies.

Mark Twain

As Mark Twain famously said,  “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”  For those of us following developments in medicine and health, we could amend his statement to “there are lies, damned lies, statistics, and medical research studies.” No news cycle is complete without including the results of some new “scientific study.”  One’s […]

I Don’t Particularly Like Being a “Cancer Survivor”


A couple of months ago, I marked the five year anniversary of my diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer, although “anniversary” implies a happier event than this milestone may deserve.  Yes, I’m still very much alive and am in pretty decent health, even though the after-effects of radiation and hormone therapy continue to remind me every […]

The Abyss and the Internet


When I picked up the phone I could hear palpable fear in her voice. “My husband went in to have a growth on his back removed and the lab came back saying he has squamous cell cancer.  They couldn’t get it all because it went deeper than they thought.  One doctor said might be lung […]

Caveat Patiens: American Cancer Marketing (part 2)

This is the second post about dubious marketing techniques newly-diagnosed cancer patients are likely to encounter.  Caveat patiens means “patient beware.”  A newly diagnosed man or woman is an attractive target for companies and institutions that can subtly (or not) exploit the natural fear induced by the word “cancer” as they market treatments that promise […]

Caveat patiens: American Cancer Marketing (part 1)

TargetdHypodermic copy

This is the first of a two-part post about dubious marketing techniques newly-diagnosed cancer patients are likely to encounter.  Like anyone who has heard the words “you” and “cancer” in the same sentence, when my urologist said, “Craig, you have a nasty cancer,” I felt as if I were looking death square in the eye. […]

1826 Days: A Reflection on Anniversaries


Anniversaries mark the progression (if not progress) of our life’s journey.  Birthdays are the most obvious.  If we’re married, wedding anniversaries are another.  And if we’re parents, the birthdays of our children. There are darker anniversaries as well.  Spouses who remember the day their lifetime partner died.  Or the day a brother or sister died. […]

Cancer and the Christmas Invasion


There’s no question that cancer is a life-changing disease: physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  Those of us diagnosed with a Stage III or Stage IV cancer assuredly must confront our mortality, as the disease makes it clear that we’re not quite as in charge of our own life as we once assumed. Cancer creates numerous other […]

Obamacare, Stress, and the “Overhang”


If, like me, you’re the owner of an advanced (Stage III or Stage IV) cancer that is currently in remission, the good news is that the disease is currently being held at bay, and we are able to get on with our lives. But the threat of recurrence always looms over us, a phenomenon that […]

The Day When Names Trump Numbers


All Saints Day.  While it’s a holy day that has been pretty much drowned out by the commercial excesses of Halloween, I think its significance transcends its ancient Christian roots and speaks to everyone. At the Lutheran church I attend here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we honored the parishioners who died over the […]

Let’s Move to Movember


Sometimes it seems as if every week or month is dedicated to raising awareness of a particular cancer. It can be difficult–if not impossible–to keep them all straight. The American Cancer Society’s website even has a “Cancer Awareness Calendar.” [1] March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, as well as […]