Archive for August 8, 2013

Confronting the Mental Challenges of Cancer Treatment

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by Richard Saltus

Living with cancer is a physical and emotional challenge, but people may also find it hampers their thought processes and memory. Often the deficits are temporary, but sometimes they persist or appear months or years later as delayed effects.

Cognitive difficulties, says Clare Humphreys, PhD, a neuropsychologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, “are caused not just by the direct effect of cancer, but also the effects of treatment, as well as factors like pain, disrupted sleep, anxiety, and depression.”

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Tips for Talking to Your Children About Genetic Test Results

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There are many decisions parents face after testing for genetic cancer risk, including whether to tell their children and how to approach the conversation.

If you decide to talk to your children about the test results, allow yourself some time to process the information; you want to be calm and clear when you talk with them. Remember that you know your children best and there are no set rules for talking to kids about genetic tests.

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Research in Advanced Ovarian Cancer Shows Promise

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By Ursula Matulonis, MD

After a long period of slow progress, new knowledge about the genetics of ovarian cancer is leading to the development and testing of new therapies.

Researchers at the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers will soon be launching several phase 3 clinical trials testing drugs known as PARP inhibitors for patients with platinum-sensitive recurrent ovarian cancer – tumors that initially responded to platinum-based chemotherapy agents but have shown evidence of regrowth at least six months after treatment. Phase 3 trials test drugs in large numbers of patients to evaluate the drugs’ effectiveness as well as safety. PARP inhibitors work by blocking one of the pathways by which tumor cells repair their damaged DNA.

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