New Clinic Focuses on Why Some Conditions Become Cancer While Others Don’t

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Thousands of people learn each year – usually after a routine blood test – that they have a condition that may develop into a blood cancer such as leukemia, lymphoma or multiple myeloma. The news is often followed by an equally surprising addendum: the condition won’t be treated until it becomes a full-fledged cancer. The lack of treatments for such “precursor conditions” places patients in an awkward limbo: seemingly healthy but waiting for their disease to progress to the point where it’s treatable. Scientists have puzzled over why some people with these conditions go on to develop cancer quickly while …

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Shifting from Pediatric to Adult Care: Advice from a Survivor

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By Catherine MacLean The health care transition from pediatric to adult practitioners is an important process for any young adult, but it is especially critical for cancer survivors. Typically, this transition takes place sometime between ages 16 and 21. I was diagnosed with aplastic anemia at age 4 and had a bone marrow transplant at age 10. My shift to adult health care began around the time I was 17 and was completed at about age 21. I am now 23 and in full control of my own health care. From my personal experience, here are some critical pieces of …

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Tips for Recovering from a Hysterectomy

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Hysterectomy, the surgical removal of the uterus, may be used to treat a variety of gynecologic cancers, including endometrial (uterine), ovarian, or cervical, or gestational trophoblastic  disease. Like any major surgery, recovering from a hysterectomy, which may also include removal of the ovaries, cervix, and fallopian tubes, takes time. Here is some advice from the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber on recovering safely following a hysterectomy. Balance activity with rest. Walking is one of the best ways for the body to recover and heal. Start slow and always listen to your body. You may be more …

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Themed Chemo Visits Help Breast Cancer Patient Cope with Treatment

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Cancer treatment is never fun, but Cheryl St. Onge figures if she has to go through it, she’s doing it with style — and smiles. Each time the breast cancer patient arrives at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center at Milford Regional Medical Center for her infusion visit, she wears a different themed outfit. One time she was a cowgirl with boots, hat, and a fringed vest; another time she came ready for a Hawaiian luau with the appropriate loud shirt and lei. Last month she was a nurse in scrubs. The wardrobes are kept a secret from her caregivers and …

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Should I Take Aspirin to Prevent Cancer?

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A steady drumbeat of research suggest that taking a small dose of daily aspirin over a period of years can reduce the risk of certain cancers. In August, researchers from London’s Queen Mary University concluded that daily aspirin taken over 10 years reduced the risk of developing cancers of the digestive tract – colon, stomach, and esophagus – by as much as 40 percent, and had a lesser impact on the number of lung, breast and prostate cancer diagnoses. The leader of the research – published in the Annals of Oncology,  said “the evidence is that everyone between 50 and …

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Brain Tumor Survivor Shares Her Tips on the College Transition

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By Frannie Palmer As a kid, I stumbled on my feet quite a bit. I had to use two hands on the railing while going down stairs. My parents thought I was just a little clumsy. The truth was, a brain tumor was creating pressure on my cerebellum and causing my incoordination. I was 6-years-old when I had surgery to remove the non-cancerous tumor. It wasn’t until I began applying for early decision admission to Wheaton College that I fully grasped how much it had affected me. After the surgery, I had to re-learn how to walk and talk. My …

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New Drug Combination Shows Promise for Women with Recurrent Ovarian Cancer

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For many women with ovarian cancer that has returned after initial treatment, a two-drug combination can significantly extend the time that the disease is kept in check, according to a phase 2 clinical trial led by investigators at the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber. As reported in Lancet Oncology, researchers compared the drugs cediranib and olaparib, versus olaparib alone, in their ability to stall the advance of ovarian cancer in women with a recurrent form of the disease that responds to platinum-based chemotherapy agents. The investigators found that the median period before the disease began to …

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Five Things Young Women with Breast Cancer Should Know

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While the majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer are age 55 or older, about 14,500 women age 45 and younger are diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. each year. In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, here are some facts about breast cancer all young women should know. 1. Genetic testing can help identify women who are at increased risk While all women are at risk for breast cancer, women who have a family history of premenopausal breast or ovarian cancer or a family member with a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene are at a higher risk and should speak …

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The Latest in Ovarian Cancer Treatment and Research

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Although ovarian cancer is often difficult to treat, research continues to yield results that are improving outcomes and quality of life for many patients. “Ovarian cancer research and treatment is exciting today because there are so many resources available and we are no longer committed to just the standard chemotherapy,” says Susana Campos, MD, MPH, a gynecologic oncologist with the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber. “People can really have fruitful lives even if they are living with ovarian cancer.” Campos recently joined fellow gynecologic oncologist Panos Konstantinopoulos, MD, PhD, for a live video webchat led by …

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What are the Different Types of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma?

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Although lymphoma diagnoses are often categorized as either Hodgkin lymphoma or non-Hodgkin lymphoma, there are many subtypes of each disease, with more than 50 subtypes of non-Hodgkin lymphoma alone. Most forms of the more than 70,000 new cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosed in the U.S. each year can be broken up into two main subtypes: B-cell lymphomas and T-cell lymphomas. The subtype is based on whether the cancer cells develop in the body’s B-cells or T-cells, which are two forms of white blood cells. The maturity of the B-cell or T-cell also dictates the type of lymphoma that develops. Read …

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