Should Jerry Brown Just Ignore His Cancer?

Governor’s Choice of Radiation Therapy Could Cause More Harm Than Doing Nothing at All

As California’s oldest governor, Jerry Brown has gone out of his way to demonstrate his vigorous good health, jogging around the Capitol and even challenging reporters to pull-up contests—which he won. Now that he’s been diagnosed with prostate cancer and begun radiation therapy, some news outlets seem to be experiencing a bit of schadenfreude, gleefully calling the 74-year-old governor’s diagnosis a “blow to his healthy image.”

They missed the real story, which isn’t the governor’s prostate cancer but rather the fact that he has chosen to be treated at all. Given …

How About Ice Cream Without the Tonsillectomy?

We Keep Wanting More Care Without Knowing If It's Better Care

In 1981, I was 7, in love with Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl,” and so sick and sweaty and miserable that I woke myself from sleep in tears. When my mom …

You Might Wanna Die Elsewhere

Shannon Brownlee Discusses End-of-Life Overtreatment—and Names L.A. As a Culprit

Shannon Brownlee, acting director of the New America Foundation Health Policy Program, began an event sponsored by the California HealthCare Foundation by taking a survey of the crowd at MOCA …

Does Fresno Mean Feeding Tube?

How To Figure Out If You Live In a Place With Good End-of-Life Care


In some parts of California, you’re likely to have all sorts of medical treatments at the end of your life and die in a hospital. In other parts of California, …

What If My Sore Neck is Meningitis?

The Challenge of Cutting Down on Excessive Medical Tests

Doctors have a term for it: “defensive medicine.” It’s when the rash on your hand leads to tests for syphilis–that sort of thing. And it’s a big problem.

Most of us …

How Doctors Die

It’s Not Like the Rest of Us, But It Should Be

Years ago, Charlie, a highly respected orthopedist and a mentor of mine, found a lump in his stomach. He had a surgeon explore the area, and the diagnosis was pancreatic …