What Are the Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer? [Infographic]

ovarian cancer symptoms, infographic

In its early stages, ovarian cancer can be hard to detect; symptoms can go unnoticed or may be attributed to other, more common health problems. However, symptoms do exist and can include shortness of breath, bloating, feeling full quickly, and menstrual changes. Typically, symptoms worsen over time. Learn more in the infographic below: While there is no proven screening method for early-stage ovarian cancer and detection is difficult, women should remember that certain risk factors can increase the chance of developing the disease, including BRCA1/BRCA2 gene mutations, problems with fertility, or having a family history of breast, ovarian, or colorectal …

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Tips for Managing Neuropathy


Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), a condition that is a result of nerve damage caused by cancer treatment, can be a frustrating side effect patients face. People with CIPN can experience tingling, numbness and pain in the arms, hands, legs and feet. Although there is no clear CIPN treatment that can improve nerve damage, a combination of vitamins, supplements, pain medications, adaptive techniques and complementary therapies may help reduce symptoms. Clare Sullivan, MPH, BSN, OCN, clinical program manager for Patient Education at Dana-Farber, recently answered questions about neuropathy during a live text chat. Sullivan covered safety, prevention, symptom management, and more. …

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A Special Curriculum: Teachers Tell Their Students About Cancer

lymphoma, teaching

Gina Johnson and Connie Grayson have a combined 53 years teaching in the public school system. Last year, however, their cancer diagnoses prompted them to incorporate a new element into their lesson plans. “When I was diagnosed with lymphoma in September 2014, one of my student’s moms had just passed away from cancer,” says Grayson, a fourth-grade teacher at the Arthur T. Cummings Elementary School in Winthrop, Mass. “I wanted to teach my students about cancer and let them know that not everyone who has cancer dies from it.” Grayson gathered books and videos to help explain her diagnosis to …

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What Older Women Should Know About Breast Cancer

Pat Kartiganer and Eric Winer

American women have a 12 percent lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer, the second most common cancer in women. While young women do get breast cancer, the disease is much more common in women aged 60 and older. Rachel Freedman, MD, MPH, a medical oncologist at the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber, explains what older women should know about breast cancer: Menopause can impact breast cancer risk. The risk of breast cancer increases with age, and the age at which a woman enters menopause can also impact her risk. A woman who enters menopause …

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Five Tips for Facing a Rare Cancer

rare cancer, becky sail

By Becky Sail At age 22, I was diagnosed with a rare sarcoma called aggressive angiomyxoma – say that 10 times fast. When my parents and I got the news we asked the doctor, “Is it cancer?” He responded, “That is a complicated question.” He said he had never seen it before and I needed to get to New York or Boston – there were only 250 reported cases in the world, ever. Fortunately, my job relocated me to Boston and I was able to choose Dana-Farber for my care, which I am so grateful for. I have always faced …

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Can Coffee Affect Colon Cancer Risk or Survival?

colon cancer, coffee

Colon cancer patients who drink several cups of coffee daily may have a significantly lower risk of recurrence after treatment and an improved chance of cure. That’s the provocative finding of a large study reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The research is the first to link colon cancer recurrence and coffee;  it comes on the heels of a number of reports in recent years suggesting coffee consumption may offer some protection against various types of cancer, including postmenopausal breast cancer, melanoma, liver cancer, advanced prostate cancer. However, the researchers, led by Charles Fuchs, MD, MPH, director of the …

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How to Stay Young and in Love as a Cancer Caregiver

Heather and Harry April 2011

By Heather Francis Some people worry when they get married that they won’t be able to handle the challenges of life as a couple. That won’t be a problem for my fiancé and me. Harry and I started dating in April 2011, when I was 24 and he was 25. Soon after, he started feeling fatigued, having night sweats, and getting nose bleeds. That October he found out he had Stage IV Hodgkin lymphoma. The doctors – prior to his coming to Dana-Farber – told Harry his cancer was easily treatable. He would have six months of chemotherapy, and the …

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How to Care for Your Skin After Cancer Treatment

skin care, cancer treatment

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy may cause changes to your skin during and after cancer treatment. Follow these tips and check in with your doctor regularly to ensure your skin is in the healthiest condition possible throughout your cancer experience. Chemotherapy Dry skin is a common side effect of chemotherapy. If you experience dry skin, using mild soaps and lukewarm (not hot) water, cleansing lotions, and creams may help. You should also avoid hormone creams, such as hydrocortisone, which can be harmful to the skin. Moisturizers may also help combat dry skin. For the most effective results, apply moisturizer while your …

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I Have Metastatic Breast Cancer: What’s My Prognosis?

Rachel Freedman, MD, MPH

By Rachel A. Freedman, MD, MPH Metastatic breast cancer generally means that the cancer has spread beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes under the arm. For approximately 10 percent of women with breast cancer, the disease has metastasized when they are first diagnosed, but metastatic disease can also occur when cancer returns after previous treatment. The prognosis is not the same for all metastatic breast cancer patients and can vary tremendously based upon multiple factors, including your breast cancer subtype (such as estrogen receptor [or ER] status and human epidermal growth factor receptor [or HER2] status), the degree of …

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Five Things You Need to Know About Colorectal Cancer Prevention

Nuts may help prevent certain cancers.

While one of the most common cancers in both men and women, colorectal cancer remains a very preventable disease, says Jeffrey Meyerhardt, MD, MPH, clinical director of Dana-Farber’s Center for Gastrointestinal Oncology. “Most of these cancers develop over a period of years,” he says. “While not preventable in everyone, the earlier you detect the disease, the more curable it is.” Here are some tips from Meyerhardt on ways to reduce your risk. Live a healthy lifestyle. “There are various dietary factors that play a role in colorectal cancer,” explains Meyerhardt. “The one that’s the most consistently shown in studies is …

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