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.
For many cancer patients, the Internet serves as a vital tool used to stay in touch with loved ones during treatment, find comfort and advice from other patients and caregivers, or even research clinical trials. But using the Web to learn more about a cancer diagnosis or potential treatments requires a healthy dose of caution. For all of its many benefits, the Internet used unwisely can lead to scams and misinformation, as well.
If you’re thinking about hitting the tanning beds to get started on your “base tan,” don’t. That’s the advice of Jennifer Y Lin, MD, of Dana-Farber’s Center for Melanoma Oncology.
by Naomi Funkhouser
April 2011 was an auspicious month for Hilary Hall. The start of spring marked 15 years of her being cancer-free, as well as the anniversary of her bone marrow transplant in April 1996 at age 12 for acute myelogenous leukemia. It also marked the first time Hall would lace up her running shoes for the Boston Marathon.
“When I heard about the marathon in October 2010, I instantly knew that this was how I would celebrate,” she says.
by Richard Saltus
Colonoscopy exams get a bad rap.
Even though the exam is brief and painless, many people fear and avoid them. Roughly 40 percent of Americans for whom they are recommended are not getting colonoscopies.
Yet colonoscopy is one of the most effective of all cancer prevention methods. The American Cancer Society estimates there will be 142,820 diagnoses of colorectal cancer in 2013 and 50,830 people will die of the disease. As many as 60 percent of colon cancer deaths could be prevented if everyone 50 years old or above underwent colonoscopies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
By MacKenzie Kimball
Good nutrition is essential for maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle and, according to Dana-Farber Nutritionist Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN, it can also help in the battle against cancer.
“Good nutrition is really important for supporting a healthy immune system, which helps the healing process, and healthy eating can even help to alleviate side effects or symptoms related to cancer and treatment, such as fatigue, constipation, nausea, and mouth sores,” Kennedy says.
By Maria Pearson
As a technology teacher who had a long career with IBM before going into education, I have encountered all sorts of opportunities to teach – and to learn. The biggest such opportunity of my life occurred at the intersection of cancer, technology, and Dana-Farber.
In August 2010, I was diagnosed with stage III multiple myeloma, a blood cancer. No search engine was adequate in comforting my fears of life expectancy, treatment, or facing a stark life-altering challenge.
Nutrition plays a large role in our health. That’s especially true for cancer patients. Whether it is eating a diet rich in cancer-fighting nutrients or managing treatment side effects, healthy eating habits are an important part of cancer care. Dana-Farber’s free iPhone app provides recipes and nutrition information that’s helpful not only for cancer patients but for anyone who wants to follow a healthy diet.
Ask the Nutritionist: Recipes for Fighting Cancer contains more than 100 easy-to-prepare recipes ranging from nutritious snacks to main dishes and desserts. You can access a list of ingredients, directions on how to prepare the dish, a shopping list, nutrition tips, and nutritional analysis information in a standard USDA label format. New recipes are added each month.
by Saul Weingart, MD, PhD
Flu has arrived in the northeast with a vengeance. The City of Boston declared the flu epidemic a public health emergency. Perhaps someone you know has been sick with the flu.
Influenza can be serious for anyone, but for a cancer patient, the stakes are higher. Read more
Faced with an abundance of cancer stories in the news and our own personal experiences with cancer, we may fear that there’s a growing “epidemic” of the disease.
Not so. A new report says that overall, deaths from cancer are continuing to decline, as they have for nearly two decades. Read more