Should we stop calling it prostate “cancer”?

“We do ourselves a disservice when diagnoses as wildly different as a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (a brain tumour that is virtually 100% fatal) and prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (a prostate condition more likely to make you pee frequently than to kill you) are both described as cancer.”

So claims a thoughtful Globe and Mail reflection called Can the Word ‘Cancer’ Be More Harmful Than the Disease? by health columnist André Picard. It’s all about the power of words – and particularly the C-word. Continue reading

“Distracted Doctoring” – updating your Facebook status in the O.R.

Do you know what your O.R. team is up to while you’re lying there out cold during surgery? The New York Times has taken a revealing peek at the impact of electronic devices like smartphones on modern medical care – and it’s not a pretty picture.

The troubling issue is that your doctors, nurses and techs can be focused on the screen and not the patient, even during moments of critical care.  This includes the neurosurgeon making personal calls during an operation, a nurse checking airfares in the O.R., and a frightening poll showing that half of technicians running bypass machines during open heart surgery had admitted texting while working on a cardiac procedure Continue reading

Things your doctor may not know

Before surviving a heart attack, I was what you might consider a model patient. I was always  cooperative, deferential  and polite with few if any health issues to worry my doctors. Physicians have the letters M.D. after their names, and know all about medicine. I had no reason to ever doubt them.

But all that pretty much changed forever after I was misdiagnosed with indigestion in the middle of a heart attack – despite presenting with textbook symptoms like chest pain, nausea, sweating and pain radiating down my left arm.   Continue reading