Kate Johnson's Medical Musings

Life through the eyes of a medical journalist

Star Wars Chemotherapy: Nanotechnology Pushes New Frontiers in Pediatric Cancer.

April 20, 2010

By Kate Johnson

If I was a kid with cancer I’d invite Dr. Noah Federman to be the opening performance at my next birthday party. Dr. Federman is a pediatric oncologist, and Director of the Pediatric Bone and Soft Tissue Sarcoma Program at Mattel Children’s Hospital, UCLA – and while he uses a great deal of very sophisticated vocabulary that would fly right over the heads of my guests, he seems like the type who could make the necessary adjustments to fit his audience.

If I was the mother of a kid with cancer, Dr. Federman would be more than welcome at my kid’s party. Hearing him speak about nanotechnology at the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology I could picture a room full of sick kids and their parents drawing hope from his journey into deeper frontiers in cancer medicine.

I’m neither a kid with cancer nor the mother of one. What’s more I was probably the only non-scientist attending Dr. Federman’s talk. Perhaps it was this view “from the outside” that enabled me to see his potential as a birthday party performer. Continue reading


April 20, 2010 Posted by | Oncology, Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment

Mammography Screening – Are the Harms worth the Benefits?

November 16, 2009

By Kate Johnson

As I reported today, decisions about breast cancer screening just got tougher for women in their 40’s with today’s release of new guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Taskforce (USPSTF).

Backing off from its previous guidelines (2002), the task force now recommends against annual mammography for normal-risk women in this age-group, where it used to recommend for it. The new recommendation is to have the test every two years instead.

This is a major change from the task force, which is a leader in mammography screening guidelines. It goes against the recommendation of many other major U.S. groups, including the American Cancer Society, which is strongly critical of the USPSTF move.

So, why the disagreement?

It’s a debate over the harms versus the benefits of screening. Continue reading

November 16, 2009 Posted by | Breast Cancer, Oncology, Prevention, Women's Health | , | 1 Comment

A New Way to Prevent Breast Cancer?

From Your Total Health, an NBC/iVillage website.  Read more…

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September 10, 2009 Posted by | Breast Cancer, Oncology, Prevention, Uncategorized, Women's Health | 1 Comment