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Published: Sat, 14 Oct 2017 17:55:18 -0800

Last Build Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2017 17:55:18 -0800


Breast cancer death rates decreased by 39 percent since 1989

Sat, 14 Oct 2017 17:55:18 -0800

Washington Post: "Breast cancer death rates increased by 0.4 percent per year from 1975 to 1989, according to the study. After that, mortality rates decreased rapidly, for a 39 percent drop overall through 2015. The report, the latest to document a long-term reduction in breast-cancer mortality, attributed the declines to both improvements in treatments and to early detection by mammography."

Neil Chayet (1939–2017)

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 11:18:16 -0800

Neil Chayet broadcast one-minute summaries of quirky lawsuits on the radio for more than 40 years. He died of small cell cancer last Friday, at age 78. Obits at NYTimes, the Boston Globe, and Harvard Law. Neil Chayet did some work on the Boston Strangler case at the outset of his lifelong career as an attorney, but he was most widely known for his daily radio segment, which aired on the CBS radio network. "Looking at the Law" (podcast archive still available) offered punchy synopses of odd or noteworthy legal cases, each just under a minute in Neil's trademark cadence, invariably ending with a pun or other wordplay. Last year, it reached its 10,000th episode. From the NYTimes obit:
"So Gary's family is all shook up," he said near the end of a segment about a lawsuit over Elvis Presley memorabilia. "But for Nancy and her family, it's a big hunk o' love." And after summarizing a smuggling case in which officials in Washington State shipped 5,000 pounds of marijuana into Puget Sound on a barge and set it on fire, he said, "No tern was left unstoned."
Chayet retired less than two months ago, but was still looking on the optimistic side: "I feel that 42 years is the right number for me and it leaves more time to continue the other passions I've worked on tirelessly over the years...My work will now focus on helping people prevent interpersonal problems from escalating, and I hope to distill my philosophy into a book that mirrors the 13-week course I taught at Tufts University last year." Unfortunately, when Neil hoped to throw himself into his book, the Grim Reaper threw the book at him. And while his summaries weren't cryptic, this summer he's in the crypt. That was Neil Chayet, Looking... at the Law.

Lying to ourselves about mortality is what separates us from cats.

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 11:29:27 -0800

It's Okay to be a Coward about Cancer. Josh Friedman, tv writer and showrunner of the (late, beloved) tv series Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles, shares some thoughts on dealing with cancer. Cancer doesn't give a damn how tough you are. Cancer doesn't care if you stared down the North Koreans, or won the Tour De France, or wrote two seasons of a scary robot show.

"I only think about the next mile"

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 10:01:49 -0800

"Terry Fox dipped his artificial leg into the ocean at St. John's, Newfoundland on April 12, 1980, just before setting out to run across Canada, to raise money for cancer research. During those early days of his Marathon of Hope, as he covered the equivalent of a marathon a day, very few people knew of the 21-year-old from Port Coquitlam, B.C. But through the spring and summer of 1980, Fox captivated the nation with his display of will and strength." This is that story in the words of people who were there.

And, for the 6-year-olds, they may actually believe I am a pirate.

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 14:36:46 -0800

Living with an Eye Patch in a Big City This week alone, two complete strangers have asked me outright, "What happened to your eye?" This happens to me all the time; sometimes, I get a "Hello!" first. For years, this constant questioning made me really mad. I felt like I could never hide. I didn't understand why strangers would ask such a personal question. After fielding this question hundreds of times, though, I have learned that most people are not trying to make me feel bad. Usually the opposite is true.

One Man's Quest to Change the Way We Die

Sat, 07 Jan 2017 15:52:52 -0800

"How B.J. Miller, a doctor and triple amputee, used his own experience to pioneer a new model of palliative care at a small, quirky hospice in San Francisco."[NYTimes] Once an outlier, Zen Hospice has come to embody a growing nationwide effort to reclaim the end of life as a human experience instead of primarily a medical one. The goal, as Miller likes to put it, is to "de-pathologize death." The story profiled in the link is truly as much about BJ Miller and as it is about Randy Sloan, the man who built him a custom-fitted motorcycle and later became his patient.

The Widowhood Effect

Sun, 25 Dec 2016 13:20:35 -0800

What it's like to lose a spouse in your 30s. Christina Frangou talks about the experience of losing her husband to cancer at the age of 36.

Jeopardy Champion

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 13:14:14 -0800

When Cindy Stowell was called by the Jeopardy producers about having earned a chance to audition, she told them it would have to be fast; she had Stage IV colon cancer and an estimated six months to live. Stowell passed away on December 5, eight days before the first day of her winning streak began to air. After Tuesday night's show Cindy's six-day total is $103,803 (U.S.), which she donated to cancer research.

Sharon Jones, May 4, 1956 to November 18, 2016

Sat, 19 Nov 2016 11:42:15 -0800

Sharon Jones, the Grammy-nominated soul and funk singer With Dap-Kings, died following her "heroic battle against pancreatic cancer" at the age of 60. Jones recorded six albums with the Dap-Kings, but it was her exhilarating live shows, which functioned as equal parts Baptist church revival, Saturday night juke joint and raucous 1970s Las Vegas revue, that showcased the singer's unparalleled energy. In venues filled with people half her age, Jones was the most dynamic person in the room, bolting onstage and commanding the crowd like her idol James Brown. It was homage without mimicry; respecting the soul and funk elders that defined the genres while displaying seemingly boundless vitality. Sharon Jones, previously. She was nobody's backup act (NYT, 2007) -- Mark Ronson hired the Dap-Kings to back the UK sensation Amy Winehouse, who eclipsed Daptone Records' star, Sharon Jones. "Even what's-his-name, Ronson," she continued, referring to the New York D.J. Mark Ronson, who produced the bulk of "Back to Black," Ms. Winehouse's hit album. "They came to us to get the sound they wanted behind their music. We were just sitting here minding our own business, doing our little 45s and albums, and all of a sudden they were like, 'I want your sound.'" Thanks to Ms. Winehouse and singers like Joss Stone, Ryan Shaw and Marc Broussard, retro soul styles are enjoying a greater presence in mainstream pop than they have had in years. The Dap-Kings are the most obsessive and skillful revivalists of the bunch, and they are clearly grateful for the exposure they have gotten from Ms. Winehouse and Mr. Ronson, who recently hired the Dap-Kings horns to back him up as the house band at the MTV Video Music Awards. By this point, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings had three albums: Dap-Dippin' with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings (2002), Naturally (2005), and 100 Days, 100 Nights (2007). Sharon Jones and her band went on to produce three more well-regarded studio albums: I Learned The Hard Way (2010), Give The People What They Want (2013) and most recently It's A Holiday Soul Party (2015). But that's all studio work. Sharon really shined on stage, where she performed besides Lou Reed on Sweet Jane (audio only), Michael Bublé on Baby, You've Got What It Takes (audio only), Tedeschi Trucks Band on Tell Mama, and even Phish on Suzie G.. And of course, she really rocked it with The Dap-Kings: 2003: Sharon Jones & The Dapkings Live @ Dolhuys Dordrecht (39 minute audio recording with good audio) 2005: Sharon Jones & The Dapkings - Live @ The Beatclub March 29th (58 minute audience recording with good audio) 2006: Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings at Antones, SXSW (6 minutes, low quality audience recording) 2007: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings Live @ Raymaan Is Laat (4 minutes, "100 Days, 100 Nights" live on Dutch TV); "Let Them Knock" (4 minutes, live on French TV); Sharon Jones Rehearsing James Brown Medley with Lee Fields (5 minute rehearsal video) 2008: Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings live on Later with Jools Holland performing '100 Days, 100 Nights'; "What If We All Stopped Paying Taxes" Live at the Jazz Cafe, London, Camden Town; My Man Is A Mean Man and 100 Days, 100 Nights at Coachella 2009: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings performing live at Sydney Festival on 11 January (playlist, pro-shot video) 2010: "I'll Still Be True," "I'm Not Gonna Cry" and "Road of Broken Hearted Men" live at Stubbs for SXSW via KEXP; North Sea Jazz (10 minute clip) 2011: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings featuring Prince - "When I Come Home" - Paris - June 30th; "Got To Be The Way It Is," 9 minutes, live @ Rock The Garden 2012: Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings - Live at Cruïlla Festival, Barcelona (22 minutes, audience recording); Pinkpop 2012 Holland (18 minu[...]

"When it comes to left feet, I've got ZERO!"

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 14:39:47 -0800

Josh Sundquist is a Paralympian, a bestselling author and motivational speaker. He lost his left leg to Ewing's sarcoma at age nine and later became a Paralympic ski racer. He also has basketball skills: Scorpion Shot, Alley Oop, Trampoline Shot, Toe Flick.

He has rap ambitions, too. And he finally found his sole mate. Vine YouTube Instagram (previously) h/t MeFi's Own Miss Cellania

Smile! You've got cancer

Wed, 10 Aug 2016 21:01:01 -0800

Cancer is not a problem or an illness – it's a gift. Or so Barbara Ehrenreich was told repeatedly after her diagnosis. But the positive thinkers are wrong, she says: sugar-coating illnesses can exact a dreadful cost

Love, Loss, and Kimchi

Mon, 08 Aug 2016 07:03:35 -0800

" I'd create true fusion one mouthful at a time, using chopsticks to eat strips of T-bone and codfish eggs drenched in sesame oil, all in one bite. I liked my baked potatoes with fermented chili paste, my dried cuttlefish with mayonnaise."

Michelle Zauner writes on how Korean food helped her connect with her mother after her death, winning Glamour's 11th essay contest.

Hello, my name is...

Sun, 24 Jul 2016 13:16:10 -0800

Dr Kate Granger has died at the age of 34, three years after a hospital stay with post-operative sepsis prompoted her to start the "Hello, my name is..." campaign. The campaign has now spread across the entire NHS, and out of this has also come the Kate Granger Compassionate Care Awards. She wrote two books and a blog, as well as tweeting about her experiences as a doctor becoming a patient, and having terminal cancer. Three days before she died, she hit her fundraising target for the Leeds Cancer Centre. You can see her and her husband discussing their experiences for Dying Matters two years ago. In a long interview for Cancerworld published earlier this month, she said, "If I knew I were to die tomorrow, I'd feel proud of #hellomynameis, how far we've come with it, and how hard we've worked on it. And I'm proud of things outside health. I'm proud of those little people there," (she points at the picture of her nephew and niece) "and I'll always be the doting aunty who buys too many presents."

»Mr. Klein wants to keep control over bad stories.«

Wed, 20 Jul 2016 07:34:37 -0800

Christoph Klein, director of the Dr. von Hauner Children's Hospital in Munich, is considered an excellent doctor with plenty of ambition. Too much? For years, Klein has been pursuing an experimental study. Several of the children he has treated are now dead.
On 22 April 2016, Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin (a weekly supplement to the German daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (previously)) ran an 11 page story on a gene therapy research project by star pediatric oncologist Christoph Klein (de:wiki) that would turn out to have serious consequences for the children involved. Dr. Klein has taken legal action following the publication of the story. As a response SZ has made the article fully available free of charge in German and English.

I'm Just A Person

Sat, 11 Jun 2016 09:07:31 -0800

A couple of days later, I stood in front of a mirror and slowly unbuttoned my shirt. When I looked down, what I saw turned out to be just a flat chest with fresh scars on their way to looking healed. My stitches had dissolved. I took my shirt off and stared at myself, thinking, "Lake was right, I can do this." - Tig Notaro on luck, love, family, friends, fame, stand up, her new book, and life after breasts

New mysteries. New day. Fresh doughnuts.

Fri, 03 Jun 2016 11:08:16 -0800

Let these chipper YouTube science vids fill you with existential terror. Popular YouTube education channels CGP Grey and Kurzgesagt teamed up to produce a pair of videos designed to cause you to question everything about your existence.

inform, but do not inflame

Fri, 03 Jun 2016 06:05:09 -0800

Let Smokers See the Warning They Need [NYT Op/Ed by Joanna Cohen]
Previously: coughin', Warning: Cigarettes are addictive.

Beautiful and heartbreaking New Yorker photo essay. And fuck cancer.

Wed, 01 Jun 2016 06:46:08 -0800

Portrait of a Friendship in the Face of Cancer Dan Winters photographs Brett Kilroe as he makes his way through treatment.

"I truly believe sunscreen is the No. 1 anti-aging ingredient"

Mon, 30 May 2016 09:28:13 -0800

You Know You Should Use Sunscreen. But Are You Using It Right? [SLNYT]
"Look, we're not here to nag. We all know we're supposed to use sunscreen more reliably than we probably do. "Instead of hounding you again, we asked experts for tips on skin cancer prevention and using sunscreen that you're less likely to have heard: the counterintuitive, the new or the little-known. "Here's what they told us. (We know this is a little 'Eat your vegetables' of us, so we'll give you a reward if you make it to the end.)"

Nothing is straightforward in the cancer world.

Tue, 24 May 2016 18:16:28 -0800

More Men With Early Prostate Cancer Choosing to Avoid Treatment [Gina Kolata, New York Times] From the above link:
"In the Gleason system, which involves a pathologist's assessment of how ominous the prostate cells look, 6 is actually pretty much the lowest score for cells that are cancer, despite the Gleason scale officially starting at 2. The highest is a 10. But many men, hearing that their cancer is a 6, assume the worst. "In the new system, which has been endorsed by the World Health Organization, instead of calling the cells Gleason 6, they will be called Group 1 in a scale that goes from 1 to 5. "One issue complicating the active surveillance questions, said Dr. Alan J. Wein, the chief of urology at the Perelman School of Medicine, is that the long-term outcomes are unclear. "'We need follow-up of at least 10 to 15 years to be sure we are not hurting these people,' he said. 'The problem is we've been in the active surveillance business only since about 2000, and everyone started off very, very slowly. No one really has a number of patients who have gone for years and years."
Older Men Are Still Being Overtested for Prostate Cancer [Paula Span, NYT]
"There's little medical dispute, however, about stopping PSA screening for men unlikely to live more than nine or 10 years because of their age and health. That so many in this category continue to be screened nonetheless — two million men older than 75 in 2013, the Chicago researchers estimated — is cause for considerable dismay. "For starters, the PSA test loses accuracy at older ages. In fact, abnormal results quite often return to normal in subsequent testing. "Yet abnormal results often lead to more invasive testing and then to treatment — surgery or radiation — that can cause life-altering side effects, including incontinence and sexual dysfunction. "'A PSA screen is not just a blood test,' said Dr. Victoria Tang, a research fellow at the University of California, San Francisco, and the lead author of the V.A. study. 'It's signing up for a prostate biopsy if the screening is positive. And that biopsy can cause pain, bleeding, infection.' "The biopsy, taken with a rectal probe, finds cancer in only 30 percent to 40 percent of men with abnormal PSAs, Dr. Eggener said. If it's a low-risk cancer in a man unlikely to live another 10 years, guidelines advise 'watchful waiting' or 'active surveillance.'"
Previously: Is innumeracy harming the quality of medical care?

But he won't travel long alone/No, not in Fiddler's Green

Tue, 24 May 2016 03:56:33 -0800

The Tragically Hip are the most Canadian rock band. They have a new album coming out next month. They're going on tour. And today they announced lead singer Gord Downie has terminal brain cancer.