People diagnosed with precursor conditions that often lead to multiple myeloma currently have little way of gauging their risk of myeloma or knowing when, if ever, the disease might progress.
Are massages harmful for someone undergoing cancer treatment? Is it really possible they could spread lymphoma? The simple answer: No.
Flu season starts in the fall and ends in the spring – and people with chronic health conditions, such as cancer, are at a higher risk of getting the flu.
Probiotics are healthy bacteria that we introduce into our microbiome, or digestive system, to boost the healthy bacteria that already lives there.
"Living" drugs consist of fully functional cells that have been selected and often modified to treat specific diseases, such as cancer. CAR T-cell therapy and therapeutic vaccines fall into this category.
Love and commitment have enabled Lynda and Ellen Thomas to get through Lynda’s diagnosis and treatment for inflammatory breast cancer (IBC).
Most of us are familiar with the burning feeling in the chest associated with heartburn, a common ailment caused by acid regurgitation into the esophagus.
So far, CDK4/6 inhibitors have been shown to be most effective in treating advanced estrogen-receptor positive, HER2-negative breast cancer.
A stem cell transplant is an infusion of healthy stem cells. Stem cells are located within the bone marrow and are the cells from which all other blood cells and the immune system are created.
Colon polyps form on the lining of the colon or the rectum. A history of polyps is one of the main risk factors for colorectal cancer, a common but preventable disease.
Exercising, even at a moderate level, is one thing cancer survivors can do to lower the odds of cancer recurrence.
Retinoblastoma is a rare childhood cancer of the eye. It arises from the retina, the nerve tissue in the back of the eye that is sensitive to light.
When chromosomes don't form correctly during cell division, the result can be a misspelling or glitch in the genetic code, potentially allowing cells to proliferate continuously – a hallmark of cancer.
The revelation brings a surge of hope to the field of pediatric oncology, which has long been challenged to find new drugs against childhood cancers.
A cancer care team is made up of several health professionals, including doctors and nurse practitioners. So how are these two important components of a care team different, and how do they work together? There are many different types of doctors that work on a typical cancer care team. At […]
The word “refractory” in general use means stubborn or intractable, and in medicine it is specifically applied to disease that does not respond to treatment. Refractory cancer refers to cancer that may be resistant at the beginning of treatment, or becomes resistant during treatment. “We would consider disease refractory if […]
Stem cell transplantation, otherwise known as bone marrow transplantation, is the infusion of healthy stem cells into the body to stimulate new bone marrow growth. Stem cells are vital to a person’s ability to fight infection, and stem cell transplants are performed on children whose stem cells have been damaged by […]
Many factors contribute to increased breast cancer risk for some women — including certain inherited genes. About 5 to 10 percent of breast cancer cases are thought to be hereditary, meaning that they are the direct result of gene mutations passed on from a parent. Genes are individual units of […]
Immunotherapy is a kind of treatment that has had stunning results in some patients with cancers like melanoma, lymphoma, and kidney cancer. Immunotherapy drugs empower the body’s immune system by enabling the body to fight cancer — an approach that can slow or halt cancer in certain patients. In our […]
One of the most exciting new cancer treatments, CAR T-cell therapy takes its complicated name, in part, from a fire-breathing monster in an ancient Greek myth. CAR is an acronym for “chimeric antigen receptor,” referring to genetically engineered molecules manufactured in a laboratory, inserted into the genetic material of immune […]
By Patrick Martin I’ll never forget our first appointment at Dana-Farber — less than 24 hours after my wife, Meghan, heard the harsh news that she had stage IV breast cancer. I can remember the shoes I wore, because I was staring down at them in the waiting room. I […]
Carol Snyder Halberstadt has been chronicling her life through poetry since she was 5, a means of self-expression she credits as the springboard to a long writing and editing career. When she was diagnosed in the past decade with lung cancer and then lymphoma, putting this part of her personal […]
Is there a link between soy and an increased risk of breast cancer? “That’s one of the most common questions I get from breast cancer survivors,” says Wendy Chen, MD, MPH, a breast oncologist with the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber. While laboratory studies on soy […]
A friend or loved one’s cancer diagnosis can spark a flurry of web searches for more information about the disease and the latest treatment options. And while the internet can be a useful research tool, the web can also be home to bogus claims about cancer treatments, scams, and unproven […]
By Tom Coughlin When a parent hears the gut-wrenching words, “Your child has cancer,” their only thoughts are for the child and how they can get well. Financial concerns are usually not on anyone’s radar. But financial toxicity, as it has been termed, is a reality — especially for approximately […]
Whenever Joan Janssen meets fellow ovarian cancer patients, she shares words of wisdom that she’s gained from seven years of living with the disease. “This is a recurring disease; don’t be stunned if it comes back,” she tells them. “You fought it the first time. You can do it even […]
Scalp cooling is a treatment aimed at preventing or reducing hair loss during chemotherapy. It involves placing a tight, cooled cap on the head before, during, and after each infusion. The cooling cap is attached to a machine that circulates a liquid coolant through the cap. This cooling process reduces […]
There are many types of gene therapy, but all of them involve adding to or modifying the genetic program in a person – his or her DNA blueprint that provides instructions for building and operating the body. Gene therapy technology has been developed over several decades and has been successfully […]
Precision medicine and immunotherapy are changing the landscape of cancer treatment. The aim of precision medicine, sometimes called personalized medicine, is to match treatments to individual patients taking into account their genetic makeup, medical history, test results, and other distinctive characteristics. Unlike precision medicine, immunotherapy is a particular form of treatment, […]
A radiosensitizer, or a radiosensitizing agent, is a drug that makes cancer cells more vulnerable to radiation therapy. Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to shrink tumors by disrupting the DNA of cancer cells, causing them to die. Radiosensitizers can be drugs that kill or inhibit growth of cancer cells, like […]
What is CNS lymphoma? Central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma is an extremely rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that involves the brain and spinal cord, the primary components of your body’s central nervous system. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of cancer that originates in lymphocytes, infection-fighting white blood cells that make […]
This originally appeared on Vector, Boston Children’s Hospital’s blog. Cancer and other diseases are now understood to spring from a complex interplay of biological factors rather than any one isolated origin. New research reveals that an equally-nuanced approach to treating high-risk neuroblastoma may be the most effective way to curb […]
On what was supposed to be a memorable night for all the right reasons, things suddenly went terribly wrong for Marie Fricker. Arriving at Brigham and Women’s Hospital for the birth of her first grandchild, she began experiencing dueling discomforts that rooted her to a bench in the front lobby: […]
Cancer is largely a disease that affects older people. The median age of a cancer diagnosis is 66 years, and one-fourth of new cancer cases are diagnosed in people aged 65 to 74. Adults are most likely to develop solid tumors such as breast, lung, colorectal, prostate, and bladder cancers. In […]
Ovarian cancer often goes undetected before it reaches more invasive stages, but there is one aspect of the disease that frequently remains ignored even after diagnosis: Its impact upon a patient’s sexual health and function. Now, as research and treatment advances are allowing more women to live longer and healthier […]
It’s not uncommon for cancer patients to take to a pen after a diagnosis. Peter Rooney’s taken that to another level. Rooney, a former journalist and author of the book Die Free, captured his cancer journey in the new book Immunopatient: The New Frontier of Curing Cancer. The following excerpt […]
With more people living longer than ever with chronic or serious illnesses, grandparents with cancer are a rapidly growing group. Here are some tips for how children of almost any age can support a grandmother or grandfather facing cancer. If it has been sometime since you saw your grandparent or […]
For decades, some activists have warned of links between fluoride and cancer. But years of research confirm that “there is no reason to believe that fluoride, used in an approved manner, in any way causes disease,” according to Herve Sroussi, DMD, PhD, of the Department of Oral Medicine and Oral […]
Scalp hypothermia, more commonly known as scalp cooling, is a relatively new treatment to try to prevent or reduce hair loss during chemotherapy. It involves placing a tight, cooled cap on the head before, during, and after each chemo session. The cooling cap is attached to a machine that circulates […]
Cancer therapy is increasingly aimed at the fundamental abnormalities within cancer cells – the genes and proteins that normally keep cell division under control, but are damaged or faulty in tumor cells. To understand which genes are abnormal, where they’re located within the genome, and how they affect cell growth, […]
The approval of a targeted therapy and an immunotherapy drug for some patients with advanced stomach cancer reflects recent new approaches to this difficult-to-treat cancer that hasn’t had many therapeutic advances in recent years. Stomach cancer, uncommon in the United States but a leading cause of cancer death globally, causes […]
Salivary gland cancer, a type of head and neck cancer, is a rare disease in which cancer cells form in the tissues of the salivary glands. It may not cause any symptoms, and it may be found during a regular dental check-up or physical exam. Signs and symptoms may be caused by salivary […]
Breast calcifications are signs of cellular turnover – essentially, dead cells – that can be visualized on a mammogram or observed in a breast biopsy. In most cases, mammographic calcifications are associated with changes in benign (normal) breast tissue, though in some cases they can be a sign of early […]
Small cell lung cancer is the most aggressive type of lung cancer. Unlike its far more common counterpart, non-small cell lung cancer, treatment with immunotherapy drugs hasn’t yet been approved for small cell lung cancer, but some early findings in clinical trials suggest this type of treatment may have potential. […]
Survival rates associated with blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma have risen for patients of all ages in recent years, but this increase has been relatively smaller in adolescents and young adults – those aged 15-40 – than in children and older adults. There are likely to […]
Nausea and cancer are often related in that nausea can be a side effect of treatment, but can nausea be a symptom of cancer itself? If there is a tumor that lives in the colon, esophagus, stomach, or somewhere else in the bowel, it can cause a bowel obstruction. A […]
After a patient is diagnosed with lymphoma, doctors determine the stage of the disease – or how widespread the cancer is – and then come up with a treatment plan. As with most cancers, there are generally four different stages of lymphoma: I, II, III, and IV. In stage I […]
Pancreatic cancer is seldom detected early enough for curative treatment to be performed – and even if it were, it would still be very difficult to vanquish. The pancreas, a narrow, six-inch-long gland that makes digestive juices and hormones such as insulin, is tucked away deep inside the body behind […]
“Research” is a broad stroke of a word, the verbal equivalent of painting a wall instead of a masterpiece. There are important distinctions among the three principal types of medical research — basic, clinical and translational. Whereas basic research is looking at questions related to how nature works, translational research […]
Drinking tea has been a practice around the world since ancient times, and often has been seen as a way of promoting good health. Whether tea – either the green or black varieties – can reduce the risk of cancer is a question that has been studied, but hasn’t yielded […]
Mastocytosis is a rare type of mast cell disorder characterized by the abnormal accumulation of mast cells in various organ systems such as the skin, liver, spleen, intestine, or bone marrow. It is one of two major types of mast cell disorders; the other major, more common type is mast […]
This originally appeared on Vector, Boston Children’s Hospital’s blog. Adrenoleukodystrophy — depicted in the 1992 movie “Lorenzo’s Oil” — is a genetic disease that most severely affects boys. Caused by a defective gene on the X chromosome, it triggers a build-up of fatty acids that damage the protective myelin sheaths of the […]
It is a growing field of treatment, but there are still wide misconceptions about palliative care in the cancer community. Often mistaken as hospice, palliative care is focused on improving quality of life, reducing pain, and providing emotional support during cancer treatment. And it isn’t just for end-of-life, says Daniel […]
Each day, Anthony Lewis Jr. showed up at the convenience store under the guise of purchasing a lottery ticket. He bought the tickets, but his real interest was in the woman behind the counter – an old high school classmate he was working up the nerve to ask out. The […]
In a bone marrow biopsy, a doctor uses a needle to remove and examine a small amount of bone marrow, the spongy tissue inside some of the body’s larger bones. Bone marrow, which generates all the different kinds of cells within the blood, has the consistency of a gel in […]
A cancer can be inoperable for a variety of reasons. “Liquid cancers,” such as leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma, are considered inoperable by nature, because they involve cells or tissues that are dispersed throughout the body. Leukemia and multiple myeloma, for example, originate in abnormal cells of the bone marrow, […]
This originally appeared on Vector, Boston Children’s Hospital’s blog. A novel screening method using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology has revealed new drug targets that could potentially enhance the effectiveness of PD-1 checkpoint inhibitors, a promising new class of cancer immunotherapy. The method, developed by a team at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and […]
This post originally appeared on Thriving, Boston Children’s Hospital’s pediatric health blog. On a hot, August day in a Boston park, Jesus Apolinaris Cruz cooled off with a water squirt gun fight with his mother and sister. As he nimbly ran and dodged their aim, he twisted around to sneak shots […]
Pancreatic tumors are sometimes discovered during imaging studies — such as an MRI or CT scan — performed to investigate the onset of new symptoms or during evaluation for another condition. They may also be identified during screening for families with a known history of pancreatic cancer. The pancreas produces […]
Whenever an advance against cancer is reported, it’s easy to imagine that it came about in an orderly and straightforward manner.
Although they were thoroughly debunked in the 1970s as anti-cancer agents, products made from apricot pits continue to be aggressively marketed to unsuspecting patients, according to a recent report in BuzzFeed. The idea that such products could fight cancer arose because apricot pits contain a substance called amygdalin, which is […]
Charles “Chuck” Vanada has been looking forward to Thanksgiving with his family this year, but the non-Hodgkin lymphoma survivor has already experienced feelings of gratitude in 2017 more powerful – and in places more unexpected – than anything he could have imagined. In April, Vanada and his wife, Debbie, traveled […]
Nutrition plays an important role in a child’s cancer treatment. Side effects from treatment, such as chemotherapy and radiation, can make eating difficult for children. As a result, maintaining age appropriate weight, and supporting age appropriate growth, can be challenging. It is important to talk to your medical team regarding […]
Laryngeal cancer symptoms may be caused by laryngeal (throat) cancer – a disease in which cancer cells form in the tissues of the larynx – or by other conditions. The larynx is a part of the throat, between the base of the tongue and the trachea. The larynx includes the supraglottis, glottis (vocal cords), and […]
By Allan Obsorne Although most caregivers are related to us, cancer patients like myself often receive care and support from non-family members, such as friends and colleagues. It’s important for us to reflect on the important role our caregivers play in our overall treatment. In my opinion, our caregivers have […]
CRISPR, a powerful new tool for editing the DNA instruction manual in animals and humans, is proving a boon to cancer research. Scientists say CRISPR has dramatically accelerated the process of making animal models of cancer and is speeding the search for new molecular targets for cancer drugs. The technique […]
Swallowing therapy is often necessary for patients with head and neck cancer who undergo surgery or radiation since they frequently encounter difficulties with swallowing due to treatment. The jaw, tongue, lips, and throat muscles can all be impacted by treatment for head and neck cancers — including cancers of the […]
Many people experience anxiety or depression, or both, after a cancer diagnosis, studies show. But in rare cases, anxiety and depression can be an early symptom of a tumor in the brain. Doctors point out that anxiety and depression are among the most common health problems in the United States, […]
By Hilda Santos One day six years ago, my sister Palmira called me from Dana-Farber with an idea. Her husband, Bob, was in treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and a volunteer had just approached his chair asking if he wanted a hand massage during his chemotherapy infusion. Seconds later, Palmira was […]
In the past, treating cancers involved classifying them primarily by the organ or tissue where they arose – like the skin, the lungs, the breast, or the colon. Today, it’s often possible to identify the genes and proteins responsible for a tumor’s growth, and, in some cases, to offer a […]
Linda Nelson counts herself lucky to live near a facility devoted to researching and treating Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia, the rare blood cancer for which she has a genetic predisposition. Recently, when a unique opportunity arose to share her geographic good fortune, she responded quickly. Nelson is being monitored at the Bing […]
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer both involve enlargement of the prostate, the walnut-sized gland that produces fluid that makes up a portion of semen. The prostate sits below the bladder and surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body. When the prostate increases in […]
Cancer can feel like a slog — not just a physical one, but an emotional one, too. That’s how 56-year-old business owner Amy Macdonald describes the past year and a half living with metastatic melanoma. “The biggest changes in my life are the consequences of the treatment – fatigue, body […]
CAR T-cell therapy is a cancer treatment in which a patient’s immune system T cells are genetically modified to mount a more effective attack on cancer. To date, the therapy has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as standard therapy for just two groups of patients. […]
Pediatric leukemia is cancer of the blood and develops in the bone marrow. The bone marrow is the soft, spongy center of the long bones that produces the three major blood cells: white blood cells to fight infection; red blood cells that carry oxygen; and platelets that help the blood […]
In 1947, when Dana-Farber Cancer Institute founder Sidney Farber, MD, set out to find a drug treatment for childhood leukemia, cancer treatment took two forms – surgery to cut out cancerous masses, and radiation therapy to burn them out. Cancers that couldn’t be removed or irradiated – either because of their […]
A stem cell transplant is an infusion of healthy stem cells. Stem cells are located within the bone marrow and are the cells from which all other blood cells and the immune system are created. Introducing healthy stem cells into the blood enables the production of all of the different […]
This originally appeared on Vector, Boston Children’s Hospital’s blog. A multi-center clinical trial is now offering nationwide genetic profiling services to pediatric and young adult cancer patients across the U.S. The goal is to identify gene mutations that can be individually matched with targeted drugs. “This is the first-ever nationwide […]
Primary liver cancer is cancer that forms in the tissues of the liver. Secondary liver cancer is cancer that spreads to the liver from another part of the body. Most liver cancer is secondary or metastatic. Primary liver cancer, which starts in the liver, accounts for about 2 percent of […]
CAR T-cell therapy, like all forms of cancer immunotherapy, seeks to sharpen and strengthen the immune system’s inherent cancer-fighting powers. It involves treating patients with modified versions of their own immune system T cells – white blood cells that help protect the body from disease. The groundbreaking therapy recently became […]
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