Monthly Archives: November 2006

Great American Smokeout: A Day To Commit To Health

In my posting this past Sunday I commented that this coming Thursday is the 30th annual Great American Smokeout.


This day recognizes the commitment of folks who have stopped smoking and those who want to stop smoking.  We cannot and should not underestimate the importance of this day in keeping the issue of smoking cessation on the minds of many people in this country.


It is also a reminder that we could do better and that we still have a long road to travel.


I have commented in the past about what I call prevention fatigue. 


Although I initially ascribed this condition to medical professionals who begin to feel that their recommendations for prevention services fall on increasingly deaf ears of their patients, I have more recently started recognizing that many patients and others are also becoming complacent when it comes to acting on prevention recommendations and services.


We may be running into a time when we have been saying to smokers so often that they need to take charge of their health and make a commitment to quit smoking that they are beginning to tune out the message.


The Great Continue reading →

The AMA And Smoke-free Meetings: A Follow-up

Yesterday I wrote about the resolution pending in the House of Delegates for the AMA asking that future meetings of the AMA, to the degree possible, be held in smoke free environments.


As I sit here, the House has just passed a resolution that directs the AMA to hold future meetings “in a town, city, county or state that has enacted comprehensive legislation requiring smoke-free worksites and public places (including restaurants and bars), unless intended or existing contracts or special circumstances justify an exception to this policy.”


The resolution also calls on other medical societies and health organizations to adopt a similar policy.


This direction by the nation’s largest medical professional organization could not have happened without the passage of smoke-free legislation in cities like Washington DC and Chicago IL who understand the importance of creating smoke free environments for their citizens and their guests.


I also commented yesterday about the situation here in the hotel in Las Vegas, which is not smoke-free. 


There is no doubt that the AMA delegates found the situation here in the hotel—where smoke can be smelled throughout the building—a major impetus in passing the smoke-free meetings resolution.… Continue reading →

Smoking in Las Vegas:The AMA Needs To Make A Stand

This is a hallmark week.  


On Thursday, November 16th we will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Great American Smokeout.  This is no small accomplishment, and is an anniversary noteworthy for acknowledgment and celebration.


At the same time we applaud the success of the Great American Smokeout in bringing attention to the country the importance of smoking cessation, it is also a time to acknowledge we have a long way to go.


Take, for example, the meeting location I am sitting in right now as I write this blog.


I am attending the interim meeting of the American Medical Association House of Delegates. 


We are holding this meeting in Las Vegas, which is a venue associated with many vices and virtues.  Deliberation of national medical policy is not necessarily one of them.


But Las Vegas is associated with smoking, and when you walk into the hotel to your room, or go from meeting room to meeting room there is no ignoring the smell of smoke in the air.


When my eyes started tearing yesterday, I knew I was not in the right place for my … Continue reading →

Prostate Cancer and PSA Velocity: Caution Ahead

Yesterday I saw a column in the Wall Street Journal with the headline, “Beginning Prostate-Cancer Screening At Age 40 Holds Benefits, New Data Show.”


The article, written by a reporter whose columns I read regularly and whom I respect for her knowledge and insights, states, “But now there’s new evidence that starting (prostate cancer screening) at 40 could not only catch the worst cancers but could also spare men from unnecessary treatments later in life.”


The reporter notes, “A single PSA score isn’t all that useful, and that what really matters is the rate at which PSA scores change over time.”  She goes on to write, “And using ‘PSA velocity’ can help identify men who have slow-growing cancers that don’t need any treatment.”


So now we have further confusion in the already confusing messaging surrounding prostate cancer screening. 


Unfortunately, what we don’t have is the evidence to support making a blanket recommendation to men under age 50 that they would benefit from getting early PSA testing.


Prostate cancer is an interesting disease.  What many people don’t know is that it actually can begin developing in men early in life, and if you … Continue reading →