Liquid biopsies can be used to reduce the amount of chemotherapy used for patients with stage II colon cancer. When a patient has cancer, cell-free tumor DNA circulates in the blood and can be detected in a peripheral blood sample. This is known as a “liquid biopsy,” and it has… read more "The Role of Liquid Biopsies in Oncology"
Deciding Which Risks to Take
No medical treatment is risk-free. Paul Offit’s new book covers the history of innovations that went awry and advises how to balance the risks of new medical innovations with the risk of not treating. It is always risky to use a new treatment before all the evidence is in, but… read more "Deciding Which Risks to Take"
Therapeutic Touch Pseudoscience: The Tooth Fairy Strikes Again
When tested, therapeutic touch (TT) practitioners failed to detect the human energy field they thought they could feel. Experimental setup from Rosa et al., from JAMA, 1998, 279 (13) A study out of Iran titled “Therapeutic touch for nausea in breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy: Composing a treatment” was recently published… read more "Therapeutic Touch Pseudoscience: The Tooth Fairy Strikes Again"
True Informed Consent Is Elusive
Most of us would agree that doctors should not treat patients without their consent, except in special cases like emergency care for an unconscious patient. It’s not enough for doctors to ask “Is it OK with you if I do this?” They should get informed consent from patients who understand… read more "True Informed Consent Is Elusive"
A New Perspective on the War against Cancer
Myths and misconceptions about cancer abound. Oncologists are frequently criticized for torturing patients by burning, cutting and poisoning without making any real progress in the war against cancer. Siddhartha Mukherjee, an oncologist and cancer researcher, tries to set the record straight with his new book The Emperor of All Maladies:… read more "A New Perspective on the War against Cancer"
LIVING PROOF: A MEDICAL MUTINY
Book Review of LIVING PROOF: A MEDICAL MUTINY By Michael Gearin-Tosh 334 pp. New York: Scribner, 2002. ISBN 0-7432-2517-1, $25.00. The author, an Oxford professor of English literature, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and advised to have chemotherapy. He rejected that advice because of the toxicity of chemotherapy, the uncertain… read more "LIVING PROOF: A MEDICAL MUTINY"