Tag Archives: cancer

Zeenat Junaid is a medical student in the Class of 2020 at Bahria University in Pakistan

 

I checked his file again and looked up to see the patient with a tube hanging off his shaved head. Mr. Taj Saboor, 48 years old, had brain cancer —glioblastoma multiforme. It had been removed twice in the last six months, and each time it had returned with pugnacious insistence. If cancers were little shoots and plants, or even weeds or bushes, then glioblastoma multiform would surely be Jack's colossal beanstalk of lore spurting straight up to the sky. It is fast; it is monstrous. Even when meticulously removed, one never knows where else in the brain the beans have been strewn and where hell may again break loose. It surely is the grand master of all stealthy and lethal cancers. ...continue reading

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Sarah Hanafi is a medical student in the Class of 2018 at the University of Alberta

 

In healthcare, we sometimes hear the saying, “I went home thinking about that patient.” I thought I knew what this meant until I met Winnie.

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It was a foggy Tuesday and the humidity hung thick in the air. On my first day as an elective student in Palliative Care, I was apprehensive as I exited the elevator onto the hospital unit where I would be spending the next two weeks. Soon after my orientation, I was asked to go meet my first patient. Winnie came to us with pain and shortness of breath due to an advanced lung cancer. We worried that Winnie’s hospital bed would become her death bed. ...continue reading

Marc Levin is a medical student in the Class of 2020 at McMaster University

 

I was always an active kid growing up. In high school, I attended an all-boys prep school. The curriculum was based on the old British system; accordingly, rugby was our main sport. Much to my mother’s dismay and my father’s delight, I started playing rugby in grade nine and went on to play at an international age-grade level.

Rugby was exhilarating. It provided me with a unique opportunity to develop communication skills, passion, emotion, work ethic, and resilience. It gave me the chance to experience raw moments of leadership and comradery. ...continue reading

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Zeenat Junaid is a medical student in the Class of 2020 at Bahria University in Pakistan

 

“How do you make leukemia visible?” Jo Spence asked herself.

A British photographer and educator, Spence was a transforming voice in the arts of the last century. Her documentary-style photo albums dealt with themes of class struggle, conformity, and feminism. In 1982, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. A few years later, leukemia also set in. This cancer was not just in her blood and bones — it had seeped into her existence. It hijacked her arteries of security; it exiled her into grey plains of isolation she had never known before. Her whole career, she had sought to catch that special look — that nuance in a scene that told another story. But could she capture this tyrant phantom of disease now in her photos? How to express something for which words falter? ...continue reading

Cathy Li is a medical student in the Class of 2020 at the University of Toronto

 

"Doctor, what do you recommend for my grandmother's pancreatic tumour?" My heart was fluttering nervously as I scribbled down his suggestions. This was the third meeting I had arranged.

Growing up, I had a very close relationship with my grandmother and lived with my grandparents until I was six years old. I received the news of her diagnosis during my third year of university. The words “intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm” haunted me and echoed incessantly in my head for days; I could neither think nor focus. The feelings of powerlessness grappled to hold me down. Yet deep down, I was aware that simply being a passive bystander would be the greatest personal defeat. With that, a new wave of resilience inundated my thoughts. ...continue reading

How do lifestyle factors influence breast cancer prognosis? In a review article published in the CMAJ, Dr. Ellen Warner and Ms. Julia Hamer identify which lifestyle changes can be recommended to patients as an adjunct to standard breast cancer treatments, to reduce their risk of distant recurrence and death.

Dr. Warner is a medical oncologist at the Odette Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and professor of medicine at the University of Toronto. Ms. Hamer is a Master of Medical Science student and lecturer at the University of Toronto.

Full review article (open access): www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.160464

Listen to the author interview:

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Diagnostic delay of central nervous system tumours in children has serious implications for the children and their families. Dr. Ran Goldman, Pediatrician at BC Children's Hospital, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of British Columbia and Chief Medical Officer for the website medschoolforparents.com, discusses how practitioners can maintain a high index of suspicion for these rare tumours, yet not overinvestigate benign conditions.

Dr. Goldman co-authored a review article (subscription required) on pediatric central nervous system tumours published in CMAJ.

Listen to the podcast:

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Barbara Sibbald, News and Humanities editor for the Canadian Medical Association Journal, reads the CMAJ Humanities Encounters article "First, do no harm" (subscription required). The article is written by Dr. Sarah Tulk, a family medicine resident at McMaster University.

In the article, Dr. Tulk reflects on the time she treated a terminally ill patient in the emergency department.

Listen to the article reading:

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Interview with Dr. Camilla Zimmermann, head of the palliative care program at UHN in Toronto, associate professor and Rose family Chair in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto, as well as senior scientist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

In a research article (open access) she co-authored, Dr. Zimmermann conducted interviews with patients and their caregivers in an effort to understand attitude and perceptions about palliative care. Early palliative care improves quality of life, symptom management and satisfaction with care in patients with advanced cancer. However, stigma associated with the term palliative care may be a barrier to timely referral.

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DMacA_3Domhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK

 

Could cancer simply be due to bad luck rather than environmental factors, risky behaviour or bad habits? In recent weeks, media attention focused on a scientific discussion on the risk of cancer based on papers published in Science and Nature. While the discussion itself is fascinating, isn’t it interesting that this debate took place across mainstream scientific publications rather than in established medical journals. Perhaps medicine is already convinced by the epidemiology or, maybe medical journals are less open to such debate. This is the story: ...continue reading