Archive for July 31, 2013

Outsmart Your Genes: Understanding BRCA1/2 Cancer Risk

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When Angelina Jolie underwent a preventative double mastectomy earlier this year, this issue of cancer risk and genetics made front-page headlines. Jolie, who announced the operation in a New York Times op-ed, tested positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation and learned she had an 87 percent risk of developing breast cancer.

Jolie’s announcement left many women wanting to know more: What is a gene mutation? Should I undergo genetic testing? What should I do if my tests are positive?

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Exercise Can Help Fight Cancer Fatigue

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By Nancy Campbell, MS

Cancer-related fatigue is one of the most common complaints among cancer patients and survivors. This type of weariness, which typically occurs during treatment or in the first year after, is particularly difficult because it can last for long periods of time and doesn’t go away after sleep or rest.

A growing body of research shows that cancer patients who get regular exercise report feeling less tired.

If you’re interested in starting an exercise routine to address fatigue, consider these tips:

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Living with Stage IV Ovarian Cancer

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By Maura Perkins

I can’t pinpoint when I started to get ovarian cancer symptoms. It was all very subtle and gradual. I was a healthy person. I ran, biked swam, hiked, and went to the gym regularly.

A slight pain in my left side, difficulty digesting food, feeling of fullness, and shortness of breath: those were the subtle constellation of symptoms that landed me in my primary care doctor’s office. At the age of 50, I felt like I was going downhill fast.

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What Should I Expect for my PET/CT Scan?

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By Melanie Graham

Patients undergo different types of scanning procedures to produce detailed images of potential cancer growth. Depending on the cancer, physicians may use MRI, mammography, CT, PET/CT or other technologies.

While some of these procedures use only x-rays or radio waves to create images, a PET/CT scan uses a combination of traditional x-rays and computer imaging. A radioactive substance similar to glucose is given to the patient, and because cancer cells tend to use more glucose than normal cells, PET/CT scans can help detect the biological activity of those cancer cells.

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New Therapies Bring Progress Against Multiple Myeloma

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By Christine Cleary 

The 21st century has seen great strides in treatment for multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow once considered a death sentence. In fact, thanks to research by Dana-Farber scientists, this blood cancer that took the lives of Geraldine Ferraro and Leonard P. Zakim has become a chronic disease for many patients. Read more

The Red Sox and the Jimmy Fund: An All-Star Team

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By Saul Wisnia

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As the baseball world gathers at Citi Field in New York City for tonight’s All-Star Game, here’s a look back at 60 years of all-star partnership between the Boston Red Sox and the Jimmy Fund – which supports cancer research and care at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

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‘You Have Us’: DF/BWCC Ad Campaign Launches

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youhaveusWhat is different and special about Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center? Several doctors and nurses answer this question in a new advertising campaign. The campaign promotes the specialized care and team approach provided in Boston and at regional care centers in South Weymouth and Milford, Mass.

Behind DF/BWCC patient care is a team that collaborates with one another and accompanies patients through their cancer journey, the ads show.

The campaign consists of three television ads as well as radio and print advertising. The theme of “You have us” carries through all media, encouraging viewers to “Take the first step together” with Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.

The campaign also includes a refreshed DF/BWCC website, as well as online ads that will launch in the fall, and replaces several separate campaigns run in Boston, Milford and South Shore.

Swim Across America Events Help Fund Research for Young Cancer Survivors

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By Melanie Graham

During a child’s cancer therapy and recovery process, insomnia can often be viewed as only a side effect in the scope of treatment-related symptoms.

However, there are many physical and psychological implications that develop when a child does not sleep well, says Eric Zhou, PhD, a clinical psychology fellow in Dana-Farber’s David B. Perini, Jr. Quality of Life Clinic.

Zhou, who is also a research fellow at Harvard Medical School, has spent the last year studying treatments for insomnia in adolescent and young adult cancer survivors through Dana-Farber’s Swim Across America Fellowship.

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Keeping a Healthy Weight During Cancer Treatment

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by Eric Schuller

When you think of a cancer patient, you might envision someone frail and thin. But while weight loss can be a side effect, gaining weight during cancer treatment is also quite common. That’s why it’s important to find a healthy balance during treatment. Here are some tips. Read more

An Overview of Lymphoma Therapy

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More than 70 years ago, two pharmacologists began looking at mustard gas as a possible treatment for lymphoma. The chemical, used during World War I, lowered blood counts and destroyed lymph nodes in soldiers who were exposed to the gas.

Two decades after the war, a thoracic surgeon named Gustav Lindskog used nitrogen mustard to successfully treat a patient with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

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