When solid tumors are diagnosed, they are often assigned a grade and a stage. The grade of a tumor is an indication of how quickly it is likely to grow and spread. In general, low-grade tumors grow slowly and higher-grade tumors grow more rapidly. Tumors are assigned a grade based on the appearance of their cells under a microscope: Low-grade tumor cells resemble normal cells more closely than high-grade tumor cells do. Read more
Archive for Dana-Farber
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 oropharyngeal cancer, which occurs in the middle part of the throat and is diagnosed in about 14,000 Americans each year. Men are three times more likely than women to develop oropharyngeal cancers linked to HPV.
The first year of your baby’s life is special. They come home to you this eating, pooping, screaming machine and twelve months later they are their own walking and babbling little person. It is a year to truly cherish because you realize what parents mean when they say, “they grow up so fast.” Well, my baby’s year is going by incredibly fast. He is a crawling, smiling, happy boy. Meanwhile, I feel I have hardly moved at all. A shocking diagnosis interfered with what was supposed to be the happiest time in my life.
What do you do when you are a new parent and you have cancer? I know the answer firsthand.
By Saul Wisnia
Wendy Akeson is passionate about both running and donating platelets. Never has she felt such a strong connection between these two roles as she did this year.
Four minutes after completing her 10th consecutive Boston Marathon, Akeson heard the explosions that will forever link this year’s marathon with tragedy – and then saw people running toward her from the finish line she had just crossed.
by Joanna Steere
As summer takes hold, it’s often hard to resist the delicious aroma of a backyard barbecue or soaking in some rays at the beach. However, it’s important to know the health risks associated with these common activities, especially when cancer’s involved.
People experiencing an unusual or particularly bad headache sometimes worry they might have a brain tumor. Headaches are very common and usually don’t signal a serious illness – but when should you be checked out by a doctor?
Actress Angelina Jolie is no stranger to the headlines, but she stunned the world with her Op-Ed in The New York Times, in which she shared her very private decision to have a preventive double mastectomy after testing positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation. “I hope that other women can benefit from my experience,” wrote Jolie. “Cancer is still a word that strikes fear into people’s hearts, producing a deep sense of powerlessness.” But for Jolie, and many others, getting genetic testing and taking action may offer control and comfort.
How do you know if genetic testing is right for you? Judy Garber, MD, MPH, is director of the Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and one of the leaders of the Institute’s Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers. She talks about the BRCA test, family history and cancer risk, and preventive options for breast and ovarian cancer.
The Dana-Farber Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program offers advanced genetic tests to determine risk, as well as counseling and education, once the results are determined.
If you have a question about genetic factors that increase cancer risk, you can ask the Dana-Farber cancer genetics team.
Editor’s Note: This is the second in our series of stories celebrating Moms this Mother’s Day weekend. Yesterday, Michelle Maloney shared her story. Today, it’s Allison Bellevue’s turn.
By Christine Triantos
In one whirlwind year, Allison Bellevue moved to Boston, started a new job, met her future husband, and discovered she was pregnant. Compared to what followed, that year was a breeze.
When Bellevue, now 31, went for her first fetal ultrasound, doctors noticed a small mass on her right ovary. They told her it was likely a cyst, and they would keep an eye on it over time.
Editor’s Note: This weekend we celebrate Mother’s Day with two inspiring stories of Moms whose cancer diagnoses came while they were pregnant. Today, Michelle Maloney shares her story.
On a cold October evening, Michelle Maloney braced herself against the night chill. As she hugged herself in bed, she felt a lump in her right breast. The next morning, Maloney scheduled an appointment with her primary care physician, who asked if she could be pregnant.
“Anything is possible,” said Maloney. Read more
Millions of men each year have their blood tested for prostate specific antigen, or PSA, a normal protein whose levels may be elevated in men with prostate cancer or other benign diseases of the prostate.
However, experts have disagreed on who should be tested, when and how frequently. Some are concerned about whether the benefits outweigh the risks of overdiagnosis and overtreatment. In fact, a federal advisory task force in 2012 recommended against routine PSA testing for healthy men – though many physicians disagreed.