The Hopeful Cancer Doc

Jennifer Lycette, MD, blogs at The Hopeful Cancer Doc, her personal blog on practicing oncology, maintaining hope in medicine, work-life balance, and various other musings. She started blogging with an idea to promote hope for physicians, both in our practices and our lives outside of work. Like many physician bloggers, she finds writing to be an outlet for the stresses of practice. She is a community oncologist and hematologist with over 10 years in community practice.

In this episode, I chronicle some of my latest and most flabbergasting interactions with the insurance companies when requesting “prior authorization” for necessary medical care for my patients.   First, a quick explanation of the title of this post series  more...

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In my first year of oncology fellowship, our program director asked us a question:  what percentage of people with cancer survived 5 years or more? At that time, in 2003, the answer was 60%.  I was appalled that fewer than half of us fellows, physicians embarking  more...

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What is adjuvant therapy? One of the most common questions I hear at an initial visit, as a medical oncologist, is: “My surgeon told me she got all the cancer.  So why am I here?” One of the jobs of the medical oncologist is to teach our patients that  more...

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“My mom is a doctor, my dad is a Dad.” So stated one of our children in their autobiography assignment for school. I kept reading, curious what would come next. more...

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Recently I was enjoying a “mom day” running errands with the kids, you know, the usual essentials -- groceries, school supplies, and espresso coffee drive-through. At this last stop, the barista made small talk and, seeing the kids in the back seat,  joked about  more...

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The return from a vacation weighed on me physically. This had been a true vacation – an entire week away from clinic and spent with my family. I even managed to unplug to the point of only checking email on my phone twice per day – really! more...

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The day after I told Nell she had seven metastases to her brain, she sent me flowers. She was my patient; I was her oncologist. I had met her 1 year prior, when she was well into her cancer journey, stage IV breast cancer at diagnosis. I took over from her current  more...

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My patient was sitting in a wheelchair. He was in his mid-forties, and before the cancer, had held a physically demanding job that he loved. Now, the cancer in his spine had ended not only his ability to work, but any ability to use his legs. His wife was devoted to  more...

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I recently read a post by oncologist Dr. Stephanie Graff on the experience of blame, from self and others, that people with cancer are subjected to. Her post, The only perfect cancer statistic is an imperfect one, is a great resource for any of our patients who  more...

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I am not the first physician blogger to write about the difficulties of prior authorizations, denials, and appeals, but recent occurrences in my own practice have been so convoluted that I feel they must be shared. more...

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