By Bethany-Rose Daubman, MD
As a palliative care physician, part of my job is to help foster communication among family members making difficult health care decisions. This often relates to end-of-life matters, a topic I’ve grown comfortable with. In the department of psychosocial oncology and palliative care at Dana-Farber, my colleagues and I describe health care proxies and power of attorneys, discuss the differences between allowing a loved one a natural death and “pulling the plug,” and use a family’s natural rhythms of communication to guide these conversations.
You’d think my own family would have all of this figured out, but sadly, you’d be wrong.
By Julia Pettengill
Our daughter Sophie was diagnosed with leukemia at age 2½, and received two years of care at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. While I felt tremendous joy and relief when she completed treatment, I also found the experience traumatic. Read more
By Maggie Loucks, NP-C
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 28, during my last semester of graduate school, I remember thinking that this had to mean something. I needed to turn an unfortunate situation into something positive, so I decided to pursue oncology nursing where I felt I could make a difference. Read more
By Julie Salinger, LICSW
The holiday season is full of cheer, but it can also be stressful, especially for cancer patients and their family caregivers. In addition to the extra time spent on shopping, cooking, and socializing, family interactions may bring complex dynamics, old grievances, and varying expectations to the forefront. The pressure to be “festive” can make even the healthiest person weary.
Here are some tips for patients and their families for an enjoyable holiday season. Read more
Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, and certain medications can take a toll on patients, with side effects such as nausea. Although you may experience a loss of appetite during treatment, it is important to find ways to give your body the nutrients it needs.
Here are simple strategies to help you manage nausea. Read more
By Robert Foley
Increasing evidence through research at Dana-Farber and elsewhere supports the use of acupuncture as a remedy for some of the symptoms breast cancer patients experience. This integrative therapy can be used in conjunction with radiation and chemotherapy. Read more
Cancer or blood disorder patients may have central lines, which make it easier to receive certain medications (such as chemotherapy) and have blood tests. The major types of central lines include Port-A-Cath, Hickman, and peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC). Patients receiving stem cell transplants sometimes have central lines.
If you have a central line, you may need to care for it at home. Or you may need guidance in caring for a loved one with a central line. Knowing the correct procedures is essential to preventing infection. Read more
By Christopher Lathan, MD, MS, MPH
When cancer strikes someone who is already facing other hardships – for example, he or she is poor, alone, or has a language barrier – the experience is very different than it might be for someone who has more resources and support.
The Cancer Care Equity Program at Dana-Farber, which is funded by the Kraft Family Foundation, helps vulnerable patients in the community obtain the cancer care they might not receive otherwise. Read more
By Catherine MacLean
“Why is this coming up now?”
“It’s been 10 years. I should be over this already.”
“Why is this happening to me? All of the other survivors I know seem fine.”
These thoughts preoccupied me during the transition from high school to college. It had been 10 years since my successful bone marrow transplant for aplastic anemia and my health was excellent. Read more
Ninety minutes. That’s all it takes to save a life when you donate platelets at the Kraft Family Blood Donor Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. For Baila Janock, these 90 minutes are practically a weekly occurrence since her late husband Irving Janock was treated for pancreatic cancer at Dana-Farber in the mid-1980s.
Last summer, after more than 30 years of volunteering at Dana-Farber and making more than 200 platelet donations, Janock joined “Team 20” yet again – an honor bestowed upon donors who give platelets more than 20 times in a year.