Stories We're Following This Week

News + Insights from around the Web + The Patient's Playbook Bottom Line. 

Breast Cancer Gene Test Helps Predict Who Can Skip Chemo

DNA Microarrays, a technology that is improving our understanding of breast cancer (thinkstock)

DNA Microarrays, a technology that is improving our understanding of breast cancer (thinkstock)

"It's one more step forward to personalizing how we treat patients."

—Study contributor Dr. Daniel Hayes, on NPR.

Bottom Line: A simple genetic test (Oncotype DX), which is commonly covered by insurance, can accurately predict whether a patient who has undergone breast surgery may skip chemotherapy. If you are diagnosed with any cancer, getting your biopsy tissue tested may provide valuable information that can guide treatment decisions. To learn more about how to discuss this with your physician, see "Chapter 11: Step 3—Treatment," in The Patient's Playbook.

For Medical Students, Meeting Seniors Could Encourage Better Patient Care

Kaiser Health News

Kaiser Health News

"I attribute my longevity to smoking, drinking and overeating."

—Simon Ostrach, 92, who was part of a panel discussion aimed at nudging Case Western Reserve medical students toward geriatric care.

Bottom Line: Having a strong relationship with your primary care physician is one of the most important first steps toward a long life. Seniors who spoke with second-year medical students at an annual "Life Over 90," event said that candid two-way communication was among their top concerns. For more on how to improve your relationship with your PCP, see "Chapter Two: How to Find the Best Primary Care Physician for You" in The Patient's Playbook.

Can the Residents of a Tiny South pacific Island Provide new Insights into Color-Blindness?



“If being truly colour-blind is rare, why is it that around 10% of the population of Pingelap are condemned to live in a totally black and white world?”

—from "The Island of Colour Blindness" (BBC News Magazine) 

Bottom Line: While very few of us are truly color blind, we may have varying degrees of deficiency when it comes to distinguishing between hues (recall: the dress that broke the Internet). Plus: How color blind are you? Take the Farnsworth-Munsell 100 hue test and find out. 

The U.S. Ebola Outbreak: One year Later

Last year, Dallas became the epicenter of America’s ebola outbreak when patient Thomas Eric Duncan died at the same hospital that had initially misdiagnosed him and sent him home. USA Today reports on how things have changed since then.

Bottom Line: A year later, every patient who passes through a Dallas County hospital is asked if they have recently traveled to an infected area of the world or have had contact with an infected person; ebola test results can now be had in a few hours, instead of a few days. But still no hospital in Texas is equipped to treat and care for an ebola patient.