Nine Tips for Talking To Kids About Cancer

 Helping a loved one face cancer is never easy, but the challenge is especially daunting when the patient is your own child. Our clinicians at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center work with pediatric cancer patients and their families every day. Lisa Diller, MD, Anna Muriel, MD, and Jorge Fernandez, LCSW – offer these 9 tips for talking with your children about their illness.           

When a Celebrity Has Breast Cancer

by Erica Mayer, MD, MPH  In 1974, when First Lady Betty Ford announced that she had undergone a mastectomy for breast cancer, it was a turning point in people’s willingness to talk about the disease. Prior to that, discussing cancer of any type, even with one’s family or friends, was often taboo. The First Lady’s openness about her cancer helped create a space in which women felt more comfortable talking about their experience – and about being screened for the disease.

Why Do Scientists Use Zebrafish to Study Cancer?

Cancer scientists use a wide variety of techniques to study the growth and development of tumor cells. Laboratory research often focuses on individual cells or tissue samples, but to learn how cancers grow and respond to therapies in living organisms, scientists rely on other experimental models. In recent years, zebrafish have become the model of choice for studying many cancer types. Dana-Farber’s A. Thomas Look, MD, who uses zebrafish in his own work, explains why.

From Patient to Caregiver: Alyssa Ywuc’s Story

Alyssa Ywuc was a 23-year-old nursing student when she was diagnosed with leukemia. After seeing first-hand the work of oncology nurses as a patient, she decided to specialize in oncology nursing. We talked with Alyssa about both sides of the cancer experience – her time as a patient and her future career as a caregiver.

The HIV Spike, Revealed

The gaudy green image you see below is not an avant-garde sculpture, but the most detailed image yet made of the protein “spike” that allows HIV – the virus that causes AIDS – to latch onto and enter human blood cells.

Breast Cancer, Aromatase Inhibitors, and Bone Density

Aromatase inhibitors (AIs), such as Arimidex, Aromasin, and Femara, have proven to be more effective than previous hormonal treatments for treating both early and advanced breast cancer in post-menopausal women whose tumors are dependent on estrogen. Compared with tamoxifen, these drugs are less likely to cause blood clots or raise the risk of endometrial cancer. As a result, AIs are used both in patients with early breast cancer and in those with metastatic disease.

Fun with Pink

It was glitter and glue when patients, visitors, and Dana-Farber staff gathered on Oct. 4 to create art on an unusual canvas – bras. Hosted by Friends’ Place and Dana-Farber’s Creative Arts Program, the “Decorate a Brassiere” art therapy event allowed attendees to creatively honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Dana-Farber Staff Join the Race

This Sunday, 7,000 runners will step up to the starting line for the 12th annual Boston Athletic Association (BAA) Half Marathon presented by Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund. 500 of them will run not only to set a personal record on the 13.1-mile course, but also to raise money for Dana-Farber. Included in that group are a number of runners we’re happy to call our colleagues. Here are two of their stories.