Health Benefits Available Through AARP

Great resources from AARP

AARP’s mission “is to empower people to choose how they live as they age.” In the United States, it has nearly 40 million members. And annual dues are about $15 per person. [NOTE: Our blog is a nonprofit. This is not an advertisement for AARP.]

The organization offers a number of health-related resources. Some are free. While others are offered at a discount.

Click the image to learn more about each health-related resource offered by AARP. When on the Web site, scroll down to health and wellness.

Health Benefits Available Through AARP
 

New Hope for Those with Pancreatic Cancer

Mayo Clinic providing new options.

For those who follow this blog, you know that I am a VERY fortunate pancreatic cancer survivor. Since my cancer was diagnosed early, I was able to have a successful Whipple surgery. For most, the outlook is not as positive.

But, new research presents greater hope for the future. As Erika Edwards reports for NBC News:

“Historically, doctors have given pancreatic cancer patients chemotherapy or radiation hoping it would cause the tumor to shrink or pull away from the artery or vein it’s ensnared. Dr. Mark Truty, a surgical oncologist at Mayo Clinic, believes that’s the wrong approach. ‘You’re going to be sorely disappointed if that’s what you’re expecting’, Truty told NBC News.”

“About a third of pancreatic cancer cases are found at stage 3. Truty estimates about half of his pancreatic cancer patients diagnosed at this stage seek his care after other physicians said their tumors could not be surgically removed. His team’s approach to treating stage 3 pancreatic cancer is different from most other oncology practices”

“The Mayo Clinic approach works like this. Patients are given extended, personalized chemotherapy until levels of a tumor marker in the blood called CA 19-9 fall to a normal range. Then if a PET scan shows the tumor is destroyed, doctors move forward with radiation and surgery.”

“Among 194 pancreatic cancer treated this way at the Mayo Clinic, 89 percent lived longer than the expected 12 to 18 months. The approach has pushed average survival to five years after diagnosis, according to a study by the Mayo Clinic.

To learn more, watch the following video. Note: The beginning of the video may be a downer. But the overall video is hopeful.


 

We’re Not There Yet on Doctor-Patient Relationships

We can still do better. 🙂

Earlier this month, I gave a presentation to about 65 residents and other doctors on “Roles in Patient-Doctor Relationships: Seeing Both Sides.”

This is the sixth and final post from that talk:

Despite the progress made, as noted in the 5 posts above, there is still a ways to go in doctor-patient relationships.

Check out the charts below, which are based on four possible relationships. The optimal relationship is obviously mutuality. But the other three possibilities still exist. That needs to change. We need to have relationships be win-win!!!
 
We’re Not There Yet on Doctor-Patient Relationships
 
We’re Not There Yet on Doctor-Patient Relationships
 
We’re Not There Yet on Doctor-Patient Relationships
 
We’re Not There Yet on Doctor-Patient Relationships
 
We’re Not There Yet on Doctor-Patient Relationships
 

Stages of Patient Frustration and Satisfaction

Patient scheduling dos and don’ts.

Earlier this month, I gave a presentation to about 65 residents and other doctors on “Roles in Patient-Doctor Relationships: Seeing Both Sides.”

This is the third post:

Consider this example regarding patient frustration and satisfaction. According to SCI Solutions:

“As patients become more accustomed to taking care of so many things online, such as scheduling mammograms, it’s more important than ever to provide a convenient patient experience. This infographic highlights the five stages of frustration patients experience today and the five stages of satisfaction they experience when patient access is centralized.”

Click the image for a larger version.

Stages of Patient Frustration and Satisfaction
 

Do You Think Your Doctors Are Caring?

A checklist that you could use to rate your doctors.

A few months ago, we featured a YouTube video on doctors and compassion. In that video, it was reported that a doctor could show compassion in less than a minute.

Today, we ask: Do you think your doctors are caring?

As part of a research project, Mark E. Quirk, et al., devised the following checklist. How would EACH of your doctors score on the checklist? If a doctor’s score is low, why don’t you switch to another physician?

Do You Think Your Doctor Is Caring?
 

Knowing Yourself Is Helpful

Insights on chronic illnesses.

We have regularly written about the value of health care knowledge. For example, see: Insights on Health LiteracyHealth Rankings in America Cancer Health.

Today, let’s look at the observations of a Crohn’s disease survivor. As Tessa Miller writes for the NY Times:

“Finding out you have a chronic illness — one that will, by definition, never go away — changes things, both for you and those you love. When I was diagnosed, I didn’t know how much my life would change. There’s no conversation about that foggy space between the common cold and terminal cancer, where illness won’t go away but won’t kill you, so none of us know what ‘chronic illness’ means until we’re thrown into being sick forever.”

“Chronic illness patients not only face painful physical symptoms, but also mental ones that linger even when the disease is well controlled. A therapist should be considered a crucial part of your care team, just as important as a gastroenterologist or cardiologist.”

“Your relationship with yourself changes. You grieve a version of yourself that doesn’t exist anymore, and a future version that looks different than you’d planned. You might have to give up career goals, hobbies and family plans, learning a ‘new normal’ in their place.”

“Chronically ill people research their diseases ad nauseam. They try more treatments than they can count. In many cases, great scientific minds can’t crack a cause or cure. So unless someone asks for your advice, don’t offer it.”

“There’s a sense of shame that comes with chronic illness that pressures patients into secrecy, making them feel like they can’t discuss their disease outside of the doctor’s office. Secrecy bolsters the lack of public conversation and knowledge, which feeds the shame patients feel.”

“Living with chronic illness makes every day a little harder, but it also makes every day a little sweeter. Though I don’t know what my future holds, I’m overwhelmed with a gratitude I didn’t have before my diagnosis — some days I marvel at just being alive.”

Click the image to read more.

Credit: Mark Pernice

 

Celebrities Are Just Like Us

Alex Trebek’s cancer announcement and more.

As we well know, fame and fortune do not ensure our health. For most of us though, we usually don’t have the world able to read about our maladies through social media.

This was again illustrated this past week.

That is why we must live life every day. And be as upbeat as possible.

For example, just in the last few days, we learned that Beverly Hills 90210‘s Luke Perry died after a massive stroke. The family of baseball Hall of Famer Tom Seaver announced that he was suffering from dementia. And Jeopardy host Alex Trebek revealed that he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

In the case of Trebek, he shared his cancer status himself through Twitter and YouTube. He offered a message of hope in the face of his dire diagnosis. His YouTube video has been viewed several million times

As a PC survivor, I especially appreciate Trebek’s open, honest, and upbeat message.