Items in AFP with MESH term: Physicians, Family
ABSTRACT: When patients are diagnosed with cancer, primary care physicians often must deliver the bad news, discuss the prognosis, and make appropriate referrals. When delivering bad news, it is important to prioritize the key points that the patient should retain. Physicians should assess the patient's emotional state, readiness to engage in the discussion, and level of understanding about the condition. The discussion should be tailored according to these assessments. Often, multiple visits are needed. When discussing prognosis, physicians should be sensitive to variations in how much information patients want to know. The challenge for physicians is to communicate prognosis accurately without giving false hope. All physicians involved in the patient's care should coordinate their key prognosis points to avoid giving the patient mixed messages. As the disease progresses, physicians must reassess treatment effectiveness and discuss the values, goals, and preferences of the patient and family. It is important to initiate conversations about palliative care early in the disease course when the patient is still feeling well. There are innovative hospice programs that allow for simultaneous curative and palliative care. When physicians discuss the transition from curative to palliative care, they should avoid phrases that may convey to the patient a sense of failure or abandonment. Physicians also must be cognizant of how cultural factors may affect end-of-life discussions. Sensitivity to a patient's cultural and individual preferences will help the physician avoid stereotyping and making incorrect assumptions.
ABSTRACT: Hospice is available for any patient who is terminally ill and chooses a palliative care approach. Because of the close relationship that primary care physicians often have with their patients, they are in a unique position to provide end-of-life care, which includes recognizing the need for and recommending hospice care when appropriate. The hospice benefit covers all expenses related to the terminal illness, including medication, nursing care, and equipment. Hospice should be considered when a patient has New York Heart Association class IV heart failure, severe dementia, activity-limiting lung disease, or metastatic cancer. Timely referrals are beneficial to both patient and hospice because of the cost related to initiating services and the time required to form a therapeutic relationship. Once the decision to refer to hospice is made, the family physician typically continues to be the patient's primary attending physician. The attending physician is expected to remain in charge of the patient's care, write orders, see the patient for office visits, and complete and sign the death certificate. Hospice, in turn, is a valuable physician resource when it comes to medication dosages, symptom management, and communication with patients and their families.
Authorship in American Family Physician - Editorials
ABSTRACT: Childhood obesity is an increasingly serious problem; 13.9 percent of children two to five years of age, 18.8 percent of children six to 11 years of age, and 17.4 percent of adolescents 12 to 19 years of age in America are obese. Practical strategies that primary care physicians can use to tackle the problem are scarce. The American Medical Association recently convened an expert panel to address this need. Evidence about how best to manage and prevent obesity was reviewed and incorporated into a series of reports. The Expert Committee on the Assessment, Prevention, and Treatment of Child and Adolescent Overweight and Obesity recommends addressing the issue of weight with all children at least once a year. Family physicians are urged to assess key dietary habits (e.g., consumption of sweetened beverages), physical activity habits, readiness to change lifestyle habits, and family history of obesity and obesity-related illnesses. Laboratory testing recommendations depend on the degree of obesity and associated illnesses. For children with a body mass index between the 85th and 94th percentiles but who have no obesity-related illnesses, a fasting lipid profile should be done. Those with the same body mass index and obesity-related illnesses should also have tests for alanine transaminase, aspartate transaminase, and fasting blood glucose levels. Measurement of blood urea nitrogen and creatinine levels should be added in children with a body mass index above the 95th percentile. A four-stage approach to treatment of childhood obesity is recommended. Many of these recommendations can be carried out by family physicians for treatment and prevention. These include advising families to limit consumption of sweetened beverages and fast food, limit screen time, engage in physical activity for at least 60 minutes per day, and encourage family meals on most, and preferably all, days of the week.
Family Physicians and the Childhood Obesity Epidemic - Editorials
ABSTRACT: Approximately 8,200 new cases of Hodgkin lymphoma are diagnosed annually in the United States. Common presenting features include painless lymphadenopathy (usually above the diaphragm), cough, fever, night sweats, and weight loss. To decrease late complications, treatment has gradually evolved toward shorter-duration chemotherapy with use of lower-dose, shorter-duration radiation therapy. ABVD (a chemotherapy regimen consisting of doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine) is now more commonly used than MOPP (a regimen consisting of mechlorethamine, vincristine, procarbazine, and prednisone) in patients with Hodgkin lymphoma. Many significant complications of therapy (e.g., cardiovascular conditions, infertility, premature menopause, secondary neoplasms) directly reflect the choice of primary treatment and may be reduced by more current treatment strategies. Recurrences of Hodgkin lymphoma are most common in the first few years after diagnosis and treatment. Prognosis is related to the stage of lymphoma, disease bulk, and age of the patient. Currently, more than 80 percent of patients with newly diagnosed Hodgkin lymphoma are expected to be long-term survivors.
The Role of Chest CT in Diagnosing Pulmonary Embolism - AFP Journal Club
Sidelined by Cancer - Close-ups