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    What Needs to Change in Cancer Treatment for Young Adults

    For a while, oncologists didn’t get it. Many were, both during and after these young patients’ treatment, often oblivious to and ill-equipped to meet their needs.Photograph by U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Peter Dean I treated an inspiring teenage girl in my clinic the other day. Although Sadie has made a complete recovery from her […]

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    The Problem with the Mutation-Centric View of Cancer

    Smoking is doing to the lung what the dinosaur-killing meteor did to Earth. It’s stimulating evolution—somatic cell evolution—that can lead to cancer.Photograph by NIH Image Gallery / Flickr To better understand and treat cancer, physicians need to stop oversimplifying its causes. Cancer results not solely from genetic mutations but by adapting to and thriving in […]

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    This Man’s Immune System Got a Cancer-Killing Update

    William Ludwig was a 64-year-old retired corrections officer living in Bridgeton, New Jersey, in 2010, when he received a near-hopeless cancer prognosis. The Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania had run out of chemotherapeutic options, and Ludwig was disqualified from most clinical trials since he had three cancers at once—leukemia, lymphoma, and squamous […]

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    What Medicine Is Learning from Animals That Resist Cancer

    Beating cancer might come from animals that evolved defenses against it.Photograph by Patrick Bouquet / Flickr In recent years, naked mole rats, elephants, and bowhead whales have caught the attention of cancer researchers. At first glance, these three don’t have much in common: naked mole rats are subterranean rodents; elephants roam above ground; and bowhead […]

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    Cancer Isn’t a Logic Problem

    A year ago, Joe Biden launched his “cancer moonshot,” a major national push to improve the prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer, a plan that was widely recognized to be incremental. “I believe that we need an absolute national commitment to end cancer as we know it,” Biden said while he was on his tour to cancer […]

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    How to Solve Oncology’s Labor Crisis

    Cancer doctors are overworked, retire early, and attract fewer recruits than other specialties, leaving the rising cancer-patient population vulnerable. Here’s what must be done.Photograph by Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy / Getty Images I watched a man die today. We were “rounding” when we were summoned to his room. He was struggling to breathe, […]

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    Why Doctors Should Start Taking Your Past Spiritual History

    Sharing what meaning you take from illness can enhance your treatment and sense of well-being.Illustration by Len Small A little over a decade ago, Farr Curlin, a physician and professor of medical humanities at Duke Divinity School, became curious about the spiritual lives of his colleagues. He already knew that patients’ religious beliefs and communities […]

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    Cancer’s Financial Cost Can Be Almost as Toxic to Patients as the Disease Itself

    Financial distress due to cancer treatment could count as another cancer mortality risk factor, alongside smoking, diet, and exercise.Photograph by John Piekos / Flickr Add a new entry to the list of factors that can exacerbate a cancer diagnosis: money. Paying for cancer treatment is expensive, and for many patients, the financial distress can be […]

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    This Cancer Treatment Extends Life Without Pills, Radiation, or Surgery

    The very act of existential unburdening proves to be life prolonging.Photograph by UpperCut Images / Getty What would go through your mind if I told you that you had cancer? Perhaps you’d wonder how you got it, or how you were going to get rid of it. Maybe you’d worry about whether you could keep […]

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    We Spoke to the Surgeon Who Gave a Man His Penis Back

    In May this year, Curtis Cetrulo, a plastic-reconstructive surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital, performed the first penis transplant in the United States. Previously his patient, Thomas Manning, 64, had most of his penis amputated to stem penis cancer, a rare form of the disease. Since the transplant, Manning has received a wave of media attention, […]