Cancer research , Care for adults , Head and Neck Cancer , Immunotherapy
What’s New in Immunotherapy for Head and Neck Cancer?

For patients with advanced head and neck cancers, immune-based therapies have started to show results against these hard-to-treat tumors. Two immunotherapy drugs were approved in 2016 for use when standard treatments failed, and many other agents are being tested in clinical trials. Immunotherapies work by enhancing the body’s natural defenses […]

April 20, 2017
0
Care for adults , Head and Neck Cancer
Five Things You Need to Know About Head and Neck Cancer

Head and neck cancers represent a group of cancers that affect the throat, larynx, nose, sinuses, and mouth. While these diseases only represent 2.5 percent of new cancer cases in the U.S., they affect vital functions, including swallowing and speaking. Here are five things to know about head and neck […]

April 20, 2015
1
Care for adults , Head and Neck Cancer , Treatments and Procedures
How Robotics are Improving Treatment for Head and Neck Cancers

Head and neck (oropharyngeal) cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the U.S., with nearly 40,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Though tobacco and alcohol use can raise the risk of developing the disease, exposure to the human papillomavirus (HPV) poses an even greater risk. People who have had an oral […]

September 10, 2014
0
Cancer research , Head and Neck Cancer , Treatments and Procedures
How is Research Improving Treatment of Head and Neck Cancers?

Head and neck cancers account for 3 to 5 percent of all cancers in the United States and can occur in the oral and nasal cavities, the sinuses, the throat, the larynx, the salivary glands, and the thyroid. When diagnosed early, many head and neck cancers can be cured with […]

August 25, 2014
0
Care for adults , Head and Neck Cancer , Health Topics
HPV linked to head and neck cancer

Traditionally, patients with oral cancers tended to be older individuals with a long history of smoking and heavy alcohol use. In the past decade, however, that picture has changed dramatically. Today, infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) is the leading cause of oropharyngeal cancer in the U.S. and Western Europe. […]

January 3, 2012
1
Head and Neck Cancer
Laryngeal Cancer: What are the Signs and Symptoms?

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 […]

November 21, 2017
0
Head and Neck Cancer
Swallowing Therapy: How Can it Help Cancer Patients?

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 […]

November 16, 2017
0
Health and Wellness
Cancer Treatment and Oral Health: What You Need to Know

When thinking of side effects of cancer treatments, nausea, fatigue and hair loss often come to mind – but what about oral health complications? Therapies that target cancer cells can also affect normal, healthy cells in the mouth and throat, and consequently, oral complications are common for cancer patients. What […]

October 19, 2017
0
Cancer research , Immunotherapy
In Check: Attacking Cancer from Many Fronts

As a pediatric dentist, Jay Schwab had a clear-cut enemy: dental disease in children and adolescents, and the apprehensions they faced in the dental environment. Cavities could neither hide from his drill nor fool his X-ray machine, and plaque could easily be scraped away. Generations of patients went away smiling […]

June 27, 2017
0
General interest , Head and Neck Cancer , Patient Stories, Adult
For Cancer Survivor, Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk is a Father’s Day in Fall

Father’s Day may be when he says it with a card, but cancer survivor Derik Lampron will feel some of his most profound love and appreciation for his dad, Don, during the Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk presented by Hyundai on Sept. 24. As they cover the famous 26.2-mile course […]

June 16, 2017
0
General interest
What’s the Difference between Chemotherapy Drugs and Antibody Drugs?

Both chemotherapy and antibody agents are used in the treatment of cancer. In its broadest definition, cancer chemotherapy refers to any drug that destroys cancer cells or slows their growth and reproduction. As the “chemo” in their name suggests, however, true chemotherapy agents consist of chemicals that kill fast-growing cancer […]

June 9, 2017
0
Cancer research , General interest , Immunotherapy
The Progress of Cancer Immunotherapy: The Tip of the Iceberg

If the human immune system was a powerful racing car, you could say that scientists in the past few years have gained unprecedented control over how to make it accelerate, and what causes it to slow or stop. This knowledge has spawned new immunotherapy drugs that are delivering dramatic benefits […]

May 9, 2017
2
Cancer research , General interest , Lung cancers , Risk and Prevention
Is Marijuana Use Connected to Cancer?

In November, four states – California, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Maine – passed measures legalizing marijuana for recreational use, bringing the total number of states with legal cannabis to eight, plus the District of Columbia. The vote in Maine was quite close and is expected to be challenged by opponents, but […]

December 15, 2016
4
Care for adults , Palliative Care, childhood
Oncology and Palliative Care Team Up to Benefit Patients

A cancer care team often involves quite a few players: oncologists, nurses, radiation oncologists, social workers, psychiatrists, and others. While these experts often improve patient outcomes, such a large multidisciplinary team can sometimes make communication and coordination difficult. Dana-Farber’s Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care department is working to change that. […]

December 12, 2016
0
Cancer research , Head and Neck Cancer , Immunotherapy
Use of Immunotherapeutic Expanded to Fifth Type of Cancer

This post originally appeared on Cancer Research Catalyst, the official blog of the American Association of Cancer Research. It was originally published Nov. 15, 2016. By Karen Honey, PhD On Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it had approved expanding the use of the immunotherapeutic nivolumab […]

November 15, 2016
4
General interest , Liver cancer , Risk and Prevention
Does Drinking Alcohol Cause Liver Cancer?

Worldwide, more than 700,000 people are diagnosed with liver cancer – a leading cause of cancer death – each year. Does drinking alcohol cause liver cancer? Although alcohol is a risk factor for liver cancer, it’s not the most common one. Chronic infection with the hepatitis B or C virus […]

October 31, 2016
0
Care for adults , Non-small cell lung cancer , Small cell lung cancer
What is the Difference Between Small Cell and Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer is divided into two general categories based on its appearance under the microscope: small cell and non-small cell. Non-small cell is the more common type and currently accounts for about 87 percent of lung cancers. Doctors make a distinction between the two types of lung cancers because treatment […]

October 7, 2016
0
Cancer research , Immunotherapy , Research
What’s New in Cancer Immunotherapy?

Keeping up with progress in the field of cancer immunotherapy requires paying close attention. The number of approved drugs that help the body’s immune system fight cancer continues to grow, as does the list of different cancers in which immunotherapy is proving effective – in some cases yielding dramatically longer-lasting […]

September 27, 2016
1
Care for adults , Health Topics , Risk and Prevention , Throat cancer
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Throat Cancer?

Throat cancer is a type of head and neck cancer that may affect the larynx, the area of the throat used for speaking; the nasopharynx, the area of the throat behind the nose; or the oropharynx, the middle part of the throat. Throat cancer symptoms vary depending on the location […]

August 19, 2016
0
Care for adults , Coping with Cancer , Health Topics
Managing Oral Side Effects of Cancer Treatment

Oral problems such as mouth sores, dry mouth, jaw pain, and sensitive gums are a common complaint for cancer patients, because the very treatments that target fast-growing cancer cells can also affect healthy cells in the mouth. Treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy may cause mouth sores and dry mouth, […]

July 8, 2016
0
Care for adults , Diet and Nutrition , Mouth (Oral) cancers
What Is the Best Diet for Someone with Oral Cancer?

Side effects from oral cancer and its treatment can make it challenging to eat essential nutrients that can maintain strength and support recovery. Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, a senior nutritionist at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, shares strategies for reaching your nutritional goals:   Eat small meals often Have six […]

June 8, 2016
0
General interest , Health Topics , Research
What Are the Most Common Cancers in Women?

While there is no sure method for avoiding cancer, understanding risk factors can help you make decisions about prevention and screening for early signs of disease. As we recognize National Women’s Health Week, here’s a look at the five most common cancers in women* and steps you can take to […]

May 9, 2016
0
Health Topics , Risk and Prevention , Thyroid cancer
What Does a Thyroid Cancer Lump Feel Like?

While 80 to 90 percent of reported thyroid lumps are not cancerous, performing “neck checks” can help you become familiar with what your thyroid looks and feels like, so you can tell your heath care professional if you notice any changes. Jochen Lorch, MD, director of the Thyroid Cancer Center […]

April 27, 2016
0
Care for adults , Mouth (Oral) cancers , Risk and Prevention
How to Reduce Your Risk of Oral Cancer

Each year, more than 48,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with oral or oropharyngeal cancer, which occurs in the oral cavity – lips and cheeks, gums, tongue, floor or roof of the mouth – and the oropharynx, referring to the back of the mouth, the tonsils, and the […]

April 11, 2016
0
Cancer research , Care for adults , Patient Stories, Adult , Precision Cancer Medicine
How Precision Cancer Care Saved a Life

Ronaldo de Oliveira was close to death. The 33-year-old father of two young children had been diagnosed with myeloid sarcoma, a rare form of leukemia that worsened despite treatment with six different chemotherapy regimens. His wife pleaded with his oncologist, Richard Stone, MD, director of the Adult Leukemia Program at […]

March 18, 2016
0
Cancer research , Care for adults , Immunotherapy , Melanoma
Remission of Jimmy Carter’s Melanoma Shows Potential of Immunotherapy for Cancer

Former President Jimmy Carter’s announcement earlier this week that he is free of the melanoma that had spread to his liver and brain may be the highest-profile example yet of the promise of a new form of cancer treatment that unleashes an immune system attack on the disease. Carter, 91, […]

December 11, 2015
1
Care for adults , Mouth (Oral) cancers
What Is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer is a type of head and neck cancer that forms in tissues of the oral cavity (the mouth) or the oropharynx (the part of the throat at the back of the mouth). The oral cavity includes the lips, the lining inside the cheeks and lips, the front two […]

October 28, 2015
0
Care for adults , Thyroid cancer
Why Are Thyroid Cancer Cases on the Rise?

While thyroid cancer is surging, the reasons why are very much a matter of debate. Some researchers claim the numbers primarily reflect improved diagnostic and detection techniques, others say the problem goes deeper. Official statistics depict a disease on the rise. Data collected by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) show […]

September 25, 2015
6
Care for adults , Risk and Prevention
The Link Between HPV and Cancer [Infographic]

Approximately 5 percent of cancers worldwide are caused by strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), including cervical, anal, and some head and neck cancers. Learn more about the link between HPV and cancer in the infographic below:

June 3, 2015
0
Cancer research , Immunotherapy
What is the Science of PD-1 and Immunotherapy?

This is a story about the velocity of an idea – a discovery whose potential to improve cancer treatment practically leapt from the test tube. The groundwork was laid in the 1990s, when scientists learned that human cells carry certain proteins on their surface that enable them to escape attack […]

May 13, 2015
1
Cancer research , Treatments and Procedures
From Foe to Friend: Viruses Show New Promise as Cancer Treatment

Updated Oct. 28, 2015 Almost as long as scientists have known of the existence of viruses, they’ve dreamed of using the tiny pathogens as a weapon against cancer. Now, as a result of advances in genetic engineering and insights into the workings of the immune system, science is giving substance […]

May 1, 2015
0
Cancer research , Risk and Prevention , Treatments and Procedures
What to Expect for Cancer Prevention and Therapies in 2015

This post was originally published on Cancer Research Catalyst, the official blog of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).  Since the beginning of the “war on cancer” in the 1970s, we have made consistent progress against cancer aided by paradigm-shifting technological advances. Last year, we witnessed significant developments being made on […]

January 29, 2015
3
Care for adults , Health Topics , Integrative Therapies , Lung cancers
How Integrative Therapies Can Help Lung Cancer Patients

Any cancer diagnosis and treatment can take a physical and emotional toll on patient. For many lung cancer patients, post-operative pain and muscle tension, as well as breathing and sleeping issues, are common side effects. To help ease some of these symptoms, patients can seek out integrative therapies, which can be […]

January 14, 2015
0
Chemotherapy , General interest , Immunotherapy
How Does Chemotherapy Work? Including Oral Chemotherapy and Immunotherapy

More than half of all people with cancer will get chemotherapy – powerful drugs that kill cancer cells to cure the disease, slow its growth, or reduce its symptoms. There are more than 100 different drugs used in chemotherapy, sometimes alone, but more often in combinations that have proven effective […]

November 10, 2014
5
Care for adults , Care for children , Patient Stories, Adult
Mother and Son, Both Cancer Survivors, Share Their Story on Radio-Telethon

When Lisa Robert is interviewed at Fenway Park  for the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon presented by Arbella Insurance Foundation (Aug 19-20), her mind will no doubt drift back to 1976, when she was a 7-year-old leukemia patient at Dana-Farber and had the thrill of her life. She threw out the […]

August 20, 2014
0
Care for adults , Throat cancer
Facts About Throat Cancer

Throat cancer is one of many cancers that affect the head and neck area, including the nasopharynx, the area of the throat behind the nose; the oropharynx, middle part of the throat; the hypopharynx, the bottom section of the throat; the oral cavity where the tongue sits; and the larynx, […]

July 3, 2014
2
Care for adults , General interest , Thyroid cancer
Thyroid Cancer: Five Things You Need to Know

By Melanie Graham Thyroid cancer is a disease in which malignant cancer cells form in the tissues of the thyroid gland. Found more often in women, the National Cancer Institute estimates 60,022 new cases of thyroid cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2013. Like most forms of cancer, […]

September 25, 2013
14
Care for children , Risk and Prevention
Should Boys and Girls Be Vaccinated Against HPV?

By Robert Haddad, MD Human papillomavirus, or HPV, vaccinations were originally advised only for girls. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Pediatrics now recommend that both girls and boys be vaccinated. The recommendations are well founded: HPV infection is the number one cause of […]

June 6, 2013
15
Cancer research , Care for adults , Integrative Therapies
Can Acupuncture Ease Cancer Symptoms?

by Richard Saltus One of the oldest healing practices in the world, acupuncture is beginning to have a role in alleviating pain and discomfort associated with cancer and its treatments. Acupuncturists use fine needles to penetrate the skin and stimulate – manually or electrically – specific points on the body. Stimulation […]

April 29, 2013
2
Care for adults , Care for children , Health Topics
Death Rates from Cancer Continue to Drop, Some Types Can Be Prevented

Faced with an abundance of cancer stories in the news and our own personal experiences with cancer, we may fear that there’s a growing “epidemic” of the disease. Not so. A new report says that overall, deaths from cancer are continuing to decline, as they have for nearly two decades.

January 10, 2013
2
Cancer research , Immunotherapy
What is immunotherapy for cancer?

Immunotherapy is one of the most technologically advanced yet basic forms of cancer treatment. It uses the body’s own defense mechanism, the immune system, to fight cancer. Immunotherapy is probably most familiar to you in the form of vaccinations for the flu, polio, chicken pox, and other contagious diseases. In […]

June 5, 2012
0
Cancer research , General interest
Dana-Farber’s Cancer Vaccine Center-Do Viruses Cause Cancer?

In 1958, when scientists linked an aggressive form of leukemia to infection with a particular virus, some researchers took the discovery as evidence that nearly all cancers are caused by viruses. A cover story in Life magazine in 1962 proclaimed, “Cancer may be infectious.” Today, it is estimated that viruses […]

December 29, 2011
0
Cancer research , Hodgkin lymphoma , Immunotherapy , Lymphomas , Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
New Immunotherapy Therapy Approved for Lymphoma Patients

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new kind of immunotherapy drug for adults and children with classical Hodgkin lymphoma who have relapsed after three or more prior lines of therapy. The approved drug, pembrolizumab (Keytruda), is part of a class of immunotherapy drugs called checkpoint inhibitors that block […]

March 28, 2017
0
Care for adults , Risk and Prevention
Common Myths About the HPV Vaccine

When it comes to vaccines, particularly the HPV vaccine, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that girls and boys aged 11 or 12 years be vaccinated against HPV, the human papillomavirus, which can be spread during sexual activity and […]

January 23, 2015
20
Care for adults , Risk and Prevention
When Should My Daughter Get Her First Pap Test?

By Sarah Feldman, MD, MPH Healthy young women should get their first Pap test at age 21. If that test is normal, they should have additional Pap tests every three years. If they have symptoms such as abnormal bleeding or are found to have an abnormality on their cervix during […]

September 3, 2013
0
Care for adults
Why Nursing? One Oncology Nurse Explains

Laura Ma remembers the moment nursing chose her. Upon earning her bachelor’s degree in art and sociology at the University of California Santa Cruz, she received her emergency teaching credential because of critical teacher shortages in the state. Three years later, she “felt like she needed something more,” Ma says. […]

November 20, 2012
0
Blood disorders
POEMS Syndrome Patient Goes from Immobility to Recovery

The vow Chukwuma Anyanwu made to himself shortly after the birth of his third child in June 2015 speaks volumes, not only about the dire state of his health at the time but also about the mettle with which he is made. “My goal was to be able to walk […]

October 11, 2017
0
Immunotherapy
Who Should Be Treated with Immunotherapy?

There has been much excitement in recent years around new drugs that exploit the power of the body’s immune system to fight cancer. In some patients, even with advanced cancers, these immunotherapy treatments have slowed or halted the disease after standard treatments no longer worked, with remissions lasting several years […]

July 6, 2017
0
Immunotherapy , Research
What Is a PD-L1 Test?

A PD-L1 test helps doctors determine whether a patient is likely to benefit from cancer drugs known as immune checkpoint inhibitors. It involves sending a piece of tumor tissue to a lab for analysis. PD-L1 is a protein that allows some cells to escape an attack by the immune system. Extending […]

May 22, 2017
2
Cancer research , Immunotherapy , Research
Can a Serum Biomarker Predict Response to Immunotherapy?

This post originally appeared on Cancer Research Catalyst, a blog from the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR). By Srivani Ravoori, PhD Immunotherapy, particularly a class of immunotherapeutics called immune checkpoint inhibitors, has transformed the treatment of several types of cancer in recent years. So far, the U.S. Food and […]

January 26, 2017
1
Health Topics , Risk and Prevention
Who Should Get the HPV Vaccine?

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of many related viruses passed through sexual contact. A number of HPV strains can lead to the development of cervical cancer, as well as vulvar, vaginal, penile, anal, and oropharyngeal cancer, which occurs in the middle part of the throat. Two strains – […]

January 19, 2017
0
Biliary cancer , Care for adults , Gastrointestinal Cancer , Pancreatic cancer , Treatments and Procedures
What Is Whipple Surgery?

Many pancreatic cancer patients are diagnosed after the cancer has spread beyond the pancreas, making surgery a risky treatment option. But for those patients whose cancer is localized, surgery may be used to remove the tumor and prevent further spread. When the tumor is confined to the head or neck […]

October 25, 2016
0
Health Topics , Mouth (Oral) cancers , Risk and Prevention
Tips for Quitting Chewing Tobacco

Often associated with professional athletes, smokeless or chewing tobacco is a major risk factor for several cancers, including oral, esophageal, and pancreatic cancer. While “chew” and “snuff” won’t be making their way to ballparks in Boston this baseball season, thanks to a citywide ban at all professional and amateur sporting […]

April 4, 2016
0
General interest , Patient Stories, Adult
Why the Pan-Mass Challenge Is My Kinetic Karma

By Dave Lafreniere I rode in my first Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) the day after my mother died. She was a two-time breast cancer survivor who developed an unrelated, rare ocular melanoma while I was training. She passed away in the early morning of August 2, 2002, as I sat by […]

July 1, 2015
1
Care for adults , General interest , Multiple Myeloma
Remembering My Father’s Journey with Multiple Myeloma

By Elise Renner There’s a 1-in-12 chance that this is the month yours or your loved one’s cancer is recognized—odds better than the survival rates for some of these diseases. Some months, like October, boast big names like breast cancer. Others, like September, are crowded with lesser-known branches of the […]

March 23, 2015
34
General interest , Merkel cell carcinoma
What are Merkel Cells?

Merkel cells are found just below your skin’s surface, on the lowest level of your top layer of skin (the epidermis). Connected to nerve endings associated with the sensation of touch, Merkel cells play a key role in helping us identify fine details and textures by touch. A rare and […]

October 3, 2014
0
General interest , Health Topics , Melanoma
What are the Most Common Sites for Melanoma? [Infographic]

Melanoma, the most severe form of skin cancer, results from an interaction between the genetics of the individual and damage to DNA from external factors. In the case of melanoma, most of the environmental damage is due to exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun. The cancer develops in the […]

July 16, 2014
1
General interest , Health Topics , Risk and Prevention
CVS to Rid Shelves of Tobacco Products: A ‘Powerful Signal’

CVS Caremark announced this week it will stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products in order to promote the health and well-being of its customers. The new policy will take effect October 1, 2014. “This step sends a powerful signal that tobacco products have no place at a retail organization dedicated […]

February 6, 2014
1
Care for adults , Chemotherapy
What Happens If You’re Allergic to Your Chemo Drugs?

By Tara Shuman Before Oct. 31, 2012, I would have probably guessed that desensitization was a process invented by mental health professionals to make really sensitive people less sensitive. I might have inquired about the cost to put my four-year-old son through “desensitization” so that he wouldn’t throw such a […]

March 12, 2013
7
Contributors

In addition to posts written by Dana-Farber staff, Insight also occasionally features guest posts from patients, family members and others touched by cancer. If you would like to share your thoughts or experiences, please let us know. You can email the blog editors at insight_blog@dfci.harvard.edu. Please include your name, best way […]

February 4, 2013
0
General interest , Health Topics
Tips to protect your skin in winter

Sunscreen shouldn’t be packed away just because it’s winter. Your skin can be exposed to harmful rays all year long. So before you hit the slopes, build a snowman, or head off to a tropical beach, take time to protect yourself, say skin cancer specialists at Dana-Farber. According to the American Cancer Society, […]

February 21, 2012
1

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