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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What is Gestational Trophoblastic Disease?

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Gestational Trophoblastic Disease (GTD) is a rare disease where a group of tumors develops in the uterus after conception, leading to abnormal development of the placenta. It affects about 1 in 1,000 pregnancies. More than 80 percent of GTD cases are non-cancerous and all forms can be treated, with the majority of cases curable. Physicians with the New England Trophoblastic Disease Center at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC), affiliated with the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber, have produced more than 300 original research reports and publications on GTD, which continue to help improve prevention, early …

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What is Liposarcoma?

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Cancers known as sarcomas develop in the connective tissues, such as muscle, fat, and bone, that hold the body together. The type of sarcoma diagnosed in Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, liposarcoma, originates in fat cells that have been driven by random DNA errors into malignant growth, forming tumors. George Demetri, MD, Director of Dana-Farber’s Center for Sarcoma and Bone Oncology, notes that while sarcomas are not a common form of cancer, they are not rare: about 10,000 sarcoma cases are diagnosed in the United States each year. Liposarcomas, which most often affect middle-age and older adults, develop as large, bulky …

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Advice from Mother and Son on Facing Cancer Together

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Hearing the words “you have cancer” can be hard enough, but what is it like to hear them echoed for a loved one? Having two cancer patients in one family calls for extra strength from everyone involved. Karen Perry was undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer when she and her husband Brian learned that their son Owen, then 11, had leukemia. He was hospitalized for five months at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. “My knees buckled when I heard the news,” recalls Perry. “Learning Owen had cancer was harder than learning I had it.” The Perrys offer the following …

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What are the Main Types of Gynecologic Cancers?

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Close to 100,000 women are diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer in the United States each year. In recognition of Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month, we’re taking a look at the main types of gynecologic cancers and their symptoms. Cervical cancer In cervical cancer, cancer cells form in the tissues of the cervix, the lower, narrow end of the uterus. More than 12,000 new cases are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Unlike other gynecologic cancers, cervical cancer has a standard screening test, the Pap smear, during which a doctor takes a sample of cells from the cervix. Doctors may also test …

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How Robotics are Improving Treatment for Head and Neck Cancers

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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 HPV infection have a 50 times greater risk of developing head and neck cancer versus the general population. Currently, nearly three quarters of head and neck tumors test positive for HPV. A growing number of these newly diagnosed cases are among men in their forties and fifties. Since the early …

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Dentist Brings a Smile to Transplant Patients

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Like many family members of cancer patients, Stephen Matarazzo, DMD, wanted a meaningful way to thank the Dana-Farber caregivers who saved his son Michael’s life. What he came up with involved offering his own professional expertise to protect the smiles of others. A dentist based in Quincy, Mass., Matarazzo provides pro bono dental exams and services to cancer and benign hematology patients who, like his son did, need stem cell transplants. Dental visits are critical transplants suppress the immune system, and patients are at significant risk for developing infections – in some cases life-threatening ones. The oral cavity and teeth …

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Understanding the New Treatment Guidelines for HER2-Negative Breast Cancer

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A new national guideline for the treatment of women with a type of advanced breast cancer known as HER2-negative disease balances state-of-the-art evidence with a need to tailor therapy to each patient’s circumstances and preferences. The guideline, developed by a panel of experts convened by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), will help clarify the choices facing patients and physicians in treating one of the most common forms of breast cancer. Nearly 80 percent of advanced breast cancers are classified as HER2-negative, meaning the cancer cells do not have excess amounts of the HER2 protein and don’t respond to …

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Adult Leukemia: Five Things You Need to Know

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More than 52,000 new cases of adult leukemia are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Although it is one of the more common childhood cancers, leukemia is found more often in older adults. As September marks Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month, we look at some important facts about adult leukemia: 1.     What are the different types of leukemia? Leukemia is a cancer of the blood. Main types of leukemia include: Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) – AML causes the bone marrow to produce immature white blood cells (called myeloblasts). As a result, patients may have a very high or low white …

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