Video Cameras, Robots, and Lung Cancer Surgery

Lung cancer surgery has changed significantly since the early 1990s. Until then, it required surgeons to remove lobes of the lungs through invasive open surgery. But the past few decades have seen advances in technology that have brought about new techniques. Today, surgeons look to perform minimally invasive lobectomies, replacing one large chest incision with several smaller ones and reducing recovery time as a result. A U.S. News and World Report article on this increasingly common surgical modality features MSK’s Dr. Bernard J. Park, deputy chief of clinical affairs of the thoracic surgery service. He explains that video cameras and robotic equipment allow surgeons to perform minimally invasive surgeries. “About 15 percent of the lung cancer lobectomies are done robotically now,” says Park. “Probably about 40 percent are done by video-assisted surgery. A still substantial amount are done open.” Park stresses that the most important thing for a patient to do — whether a candidate for minimally invasive surgery or not — is to find a skilled surgeon experienced with performing the procedures.

Women with Early Stage Breast Cancer Can Safely Skip Chemo

A new study found that some women with early stage breast cancer may be able to avoid chemotherapy. Dr. Larry Norton discussed these findings with PBS Newshour on June 4. According to Dr. Norton, a gene test called OncotypeDX can identify women who’s cancer is at risk for spreading. Patients with high scores benefit the most from chemotherapy, patients with low scores do not, but those in the middle are the ones that doctors have not been able to determine who should get chemo and who should not, until now.

To Tweet or Not to Tweet?

I recently re-read a 2014 editorial in PLOS Computational Biology entitled, “Ten Simple Rules of Live Tweeting at Scientific Conferences” which reminded me of the positive impact that this popular microblogging platform can have when used correctly. When conference organizers do it right, Twitter can be a quick and easy communication channel that attendees can use: to share a comment in real-time, to point others in the Twitterverse to papers of interest, to encourage attendees to join a session, or to promote their own research. All of this accomplished with brief messages of no more than 140 characters, making this online social networking tool a powerful resource.

I have to admit, while I do see the value in using Twitter, I personally don’t tweet very much. I do, however, follow many handles that include key trailblazers in my field, publishers and oncology journals, cancer-related organizations, open access and data management initiatives, and scholarly productivity tools that would be of interest to my library users. In particular, I follow @MSKCC_Library and find this to be an excellent way for me to stay in the know on topics that matter to me.  Scrolling through the tweets on the way home each night takes very little time.  And the time invested usually pays off with me identifying tweets (topics) worth pursuing in greater depth.

With conference season upon us, I thought this was the perfect time to share how tweeting at these events could enhance your overall meeting experience, or perhaps like me, you may benefit from following the conference’s hashtag!

Donna Gibson
Director of Library Services