beth israel deaconess medical center a harvard medical school teaching hospital

To find a doctor, call 800-667-5356 or click below:

Find a Doctor

Request an Appointment

left banner
right banner
Smaller Larger
  • Crossing the Blood Brain Barrier

    Posted 11/7/2013 by hhill
      If this holds up with further research and testing, it is a really big deal. Finding a way to allow chemotherapy drugs to cross the blood brain barrier and reach the brain has been a goal for decades. As you may know, standard chemotherapy drugs cannot infiltrate this barrier, so they don't reach the brain. Since the brain is a possible site of mets (meaning that the cancer cells are able to cross that barrier), this has been an important and scary problem. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Little Value from Prophylactic Mastectomy

    Posted 10/9/2013 by hhill
      I have written many times about the rising choice of prophylactic mastectomies for women who are also offered the option of lesser surgery. Note: the situation of women who carry a genetic mutation, BRCA1 or BRCA2, is obviously different. We are thinking here about women who are diagnosed with breast cancer, told by a surgeon that a lumpectomy/wide excision and radiation is an equally effective treatment, and who opt for either one or even two mastectomies. No matter what else is said, it is clear that these women believe that they are increasing their chances to stay healthy by having more surgery. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Drugs Before Surgery

    Posted 10/1/2013 by hhill
      Over the past years, there has been an increasing use of "neoadjuvant" treatment for women with newly diagnosed breast cancer. This means that some women have received chemotherapy before surgery (obviously, after a biopsy) in an attempt to shrink the tumor and eventually allow a lumpectomy rather than a mastectomy. In my clinical experience, this has often been successful, and I have known many women whose treatment was planned in this way. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Understanding Risk and Surgical Decisions

    Posted 9/20/2013 by hhill
      This is another in my continuing series about surgical decisions. Although I will always support a woman's decisions for herself, I often feel that women do not fully understand the realities of cancer risk and the consequences of surgery. Surgeons, in general, resist removing healthy organs and usually push back, at least a bit, if a woman wants her other (non-cancer) breast removed. They may also push back a bit if a woman chooses mastectomy with lumpectomy/wide excision would be an equally sound medical decision. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Is It Back

    Posted 9/1/2013 by hhill
      This is really it: the crux of the whole experience. Is the cancer back? Does that back pain or persistent cough or stomach cramps mean something terrible or is it another "normal" ache or pain?  Having had cancer turns us all into hypochondriacs, and we become very (? too much?) aware of our bodies. If you don't already know it, here is the most important and, usually, comforting thing to remember: Live by the "Two Week Rule". With the obvious exception of things like you think you may be having a heart attack, our doctors generally suggest that we wait for two weeks before calling with a worry. Most things are long gone before two weeks. If the ache or pain or whatever persists for two weeks, go ahead and call--but remind yourself that most things are not cancer! Read more... Comments (0)
View more