It’s a compelling idea that has attracted scientists for decades: rather than poison tumors with chemicals and radiation, use a biological agent – a vaccine – to rally the body’s formidable immune defenders to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Yet, even as other forms of immunotherapy are showing promise […]
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has signed off on a new targeted treatment for some patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), an often aggressive disease and the most common adult acute leukemia. The FDA approved the drug Idhifa (enasidenib) specifically for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed […]
Melanoma is a rare form of skin cancer that typically begins in a mole. It can occur anywhere on the body, and although it is the least common type of skin cancer, it is more likely to spread to other parts of the body and, ultimately, cause death. Within the […]
At Dana-Farber, radiation oncologists like Dr. David Kozono, MD, PHD work to improve outcomes in cancer through research and deliver quality care to patients through radiation therapy. About two-thirds of cancer patients undergo radiation therapy as part of their treatment. What new developments are occurring in the world of radiation? […]
By James Tulsky, MD James Tulsky, MD, is chair of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care at Dana-Farber, with a longstanding research interest in clinician-patient communication and quality of life for patients with serious illnesses. He is also founding director of VitalTalk, a non-profit with a mission to nurture healthier connections […]
Cancer researchers continue to explore why cancer occurs in the body – and how to stop it before it shows up. Tools like genetic testing, which looks for alterations, or mutations, in a person’s genes, can help determine whether a person is more likely to develop certain kinds of cancer. […]
At first, early intervention specialists told Christi Powers that her young son’s gross motor delays and poor balance were likely the result of weak muscle tone, but when Danny developed severe headaches at age 4, she took him to the emergency room. Soon the suburban Boston boy was diagnosed […]
Prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, is a protein naturally produced by the prostate gland in men. Because prostate cancer can increase the level of PSA in the blood, many doctors and professional organizations recommend that men over age 50 receive a PSA test in conjunction with a digital rectal exam to […]
With an estimated 8,500 new cases of skin cancer diagnosed in the U.S. every day, it is important that you not only protect yourself from the sun’s UV rays, but also regularly check your skin for anything out of the ordinary. While freckles and moles are often harmless, it is […]
Having a child diagnosed with a life-threatening illness is heart-wrenching for all parents, but when the diagnosis itself is uncertain, parents can face excruciatingly difficult decisions. This is what Katie and Josh Stevens of Idaho confronted after their son Riley was diagnosed in October 2012 with the blood disorder aplastic […]
Moles are benign growths on the skin that sometimes become cancerous. But what exactly is the connection between moles and melanoma, the most aggressive skin cancer? While it’s true that people with many moles should be screened more frequently by a dermatologist, scientists are learning that the mole-melanoma connection isn’t […]
Just over a month after approving a first-of-its-kind combination therapy for advanced melanoma, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has signed off on another drug combination to treat the disease. The FDA has approved a targeted therapy combination, Cotellic (cobimetinib) and vemurafenib, to treat advanced melanoma that has spread […]
The challenge with pancreatic cancer has always been to catch it early. Because of its subtle, variable symptoms, the disease often isn’t diagnosed until an advanced stage, when it is particularly difficult to treat. Researchers are investigating not only how to detect the disease earlier but also how to better […]
A study that found a sharply higher rate of breast cancer in women exposed to the pesticide DDT while in the womb has drawn renewed attention to the relationship between pesticide and herbicide exposure and cancer. The study, published earlier this year, tracked nearly 15,000 mothers, daughters, and granddaughters living […]
When Jenn Jackson, a trained physician, was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma in 2011 and found out she could no longer practice medicine, the news was devastating. “Getting this cancer diagnosis changed the whole trajectory of my life,” says Jackson, who was diagnosed at 35, after completing 10 years of medical training. […]
It looked like a scientific dead end – a clinical trial that found no benefit to a potential drug for a form of leukemia. But, like police detectives working a cold case, Dana-Farber scientists gathered hundreds of tissue samples that had been collected for the study – most of them […]
Learning you have cancer means you’ll want to work with a medical team that can help you create the best possible treatment plan. But it also means you need to understand your health insurance coverage. Like any complex health condition, treating cancer can involve many different types of care, and […]
When President Barack Obama rolled out his Precision Medicine Initiative, it included an increased funding request of $215 million in the 2016 federal budget. Precision medicine is changing the way cancer is studied and treated. Here are five important things to know about it. 1. Precision medicine can improve diagnosis […]
It’s commonly thought that targeted therapy for cancer requires the development of separate drugs for each type and subtype of cancer. The recent approval of the drug ibrutinib (Imbruvica®), however, for Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia (a rare form of lymphoma) shows the opposite to be true: a single agent can be effective against […]
By Kiara Kharpertian The fall season is sort of strange for me. Over the past few years, a number of important things happened during this season. In early October 2010, I was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer at the age of 25. Though I was rediagnosed stage IV in […]
Like many Dana-Farber Cancer Institute supporters, Fred Georgoulis walked 26.2 miles on Sunday in the Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk presented by Hyundai. It was Georgoulis’ second trip in recent months down this course; his last was on a classic Harley Davidson FXRS. Georgoulis is the creator and director of the […]
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 […]
There’s a broad range of news and information about breast cancer online. That creates wonderful opportunities to learn about prevention, treatment, cures and recurrence. But it also means you may run into confusing misinformation and oversimplifications. Here are some popular misconceptions: MYTH #1 Most breast cancer is hereditary. While it’s […]
Those passing them in the Yawkey Center for Cancer Care at Dana-Farber may assume Pamela Desmarais is a dutiful daughter taking her elderly father to his appointments. They certainly look the part, but while Pamela Desmarais cares for 84-year-old prostate cancer patient Donald Segur, there is no familial bond between […]
Frequent visitors of Insight might have noticed a revised look to the blog. We recently rolled out the refreshed design with a cleaner look and layout. We also added a few new features, including an email subscription option. You’ll find that sign-up tool in the blue bar above, and also […]
By Jenn Perry When I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 36, it was like déjà vu for my family. My mother had been diagnosed with the same disease at the same age, while pregnant with her third child. I learned I had breast cancer just six months after giving […]
Many young boys have special relationships with their grandfathers. Few express their feelings as eloquently as young Oliver Parry. Inspired by his grandfather’s work and his battle with cancer, the nine-year-old penned the essay below, winning a regional award from the 2013-2014 Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Reflections contest, and potentially […]
By Julia Pettengill Our daughter Sophie was diagnosed with leukemia at age 2½, and received two years of care at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. While I felt tremendous joy and relief when she completed treatment, I also found the experience traumatic.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund have long been connected with baseball. So it’s only fitting that the new statues of Dana-Farber founder Sidney Farber, MD, and 12-year-old Einar Gustafson, one of his early patients, reflect this historic relationship.
Ninety minutes. That’s all it takes to save a life when you donate platelets at the Kraft Family Blood Donor Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. For Baila Janock, these 90 minutes are practically a weekly occurrence since her late husband Irving Janock was treated for pancreatic cancer […]
What is different and special about Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center? Several doctors and nurses answer this question in a new advertising campaign. The campaign promotes the specialized care and team approach provided in Boston and at regional care centers in South Weymouth and Milford, Mass. Behind DF/BWCC patient care is […]
By Lori Buswell, RN I recently returned from a three-month rotation as a nurse fellow at a comprehensive cancer center at Butaro Hospital in Rwanda, a tiny African country known as the “land of a thousand hills.” The hospital, built and operated by the Ministry of Health and Partners In […]
By Leonard Ansin In January 2012, my wife and I had left Boston to spend a few months in sunny Florida. We had just passed Orlando when my cell phone rang. It was my primary care physician calling to tell me she was concerned that my PSA was elevated to […]
By Patrick Y. Wen, MD and David Reardon, MD Highly malignant brain tumors called glioblastomas are the most common primary cancer of the brain; about 11,000 cases are diagnosed every year in the United States. Patrick Y. Wen, MD (Director) and David Reardon, MD, (Medical Director) of the Center for […]
By Lyndsay McCaffery 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 […]
By Kelley Tuthill Hair loss can be a jarring side effect of chemotherapy. When I was treated for breast cancer, I was nervous about my appearance and decided to wear a wig. At first it was a strange experience, but wearing a wig helped me face the day — and […]
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.
by Eric Schuller 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 […]
By Jim Donovan In 2002 my good friend died of cancer. He and I were at MIT together as undergraduates, where we shared a lot of great memories and developed a long-lasting friendship. Like most of us who walk with a loved one through a life-threatening disease, I experienced feelings […]
by Michael Buller Whenever I’ve met people with cancer, I’ve been at a loss for what to say and which questions to ask. Now, as a cancer patient, I realize the irony.
Not long ago, doctors were often skeptical when cancer patients who had undergone chemotherapy complained that they were mentally foggy; unable to plan a week’s worth of meals or organize their finances as they could before. Patients called this side effect “chemobrain” and were frustrated by the lack of recognition […]
by Barbara Virchick On July 18, 2012, a Cancer Center of Excellence opened in Butaro, Rwanda, as a collaboration between Partners In Health and Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center. I was fortunate to have been there during this exciting time, working as part of a three-month fellowship to help train […]
Cancer scientists use a wide variety of techniques to study the growth and development of tumor cells. Laboratory research often focuses on individual cells or tissue samples, but to learn how cancers grow and respond to therapies in living organisms, scientists rely on other experimental models. In recent years, zebrafish […]
The gaudy green image you see below is not an avant-garde sculpture, but the most detailed image yet made of the protein “spike” that allows HIV – the virus that causes AIDS – to latch onto and enter human blood cells.
It was glitter and glue when patients, visitors, and Dana-Farber staff gathered on Oct. 4 to create art on an unusual canvas – bras. Hosted by Friends’ Place and Dana-Farber’s Creative Arts Program, the “Decorate a Brassiere” art therapy event allowed attendees to creatively honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Faces of Childhood Cancer: Sarah Levin Sarah Levin is 11 years old, and has beaten acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) twice. This is her story. The first time I got diagnosed with ALL I was only three, so I don’t remember that much about it. But what my mom and dad […]
Fernando Morales is a student athlete. Last year he was sidelined from the life he knew after he was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma. Now done with treatment Fernando is back with his teammates, sporting a positive outlook and a new appreciation for life. This is his story. As a soccer […]
Caitlynne McGaff is an active 17-year-old. She owes a lot of her mobility to an innovative surgery she had at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center to treat her osteosarcoma. This is her story. When most people my age talk about a day they’ll never forget, they mention getting their […]
September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Beginning next Wednesday, and over the next four weeks, we’ll introduce four children – Caitlynne, Fernando, Sarah and Steven – who while still young, have already overcome one of the biggest challenges of their lives. These four represent just a few of the […]
New Year’s Eve 2010. In a military hospital in Hawaii with much of the staff away for the holidays, Army pilot Ben Groen learned he’d been diagnosed with T cell lymphoblastic non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a rare, aggressive cancer of the white blood cells and lymph nodes. His doctor told him that […]
Aspirin has been around for over 100 years. In the last 50 years, research has shown that regular use of aspirin may prevent heart disease. Now a new study points to aspirin’s effectiveness in preventing and treating cancer. A recent University of Oxford investigation pooled more than 50 studies to […]
Applying sunscreen to wiggly young children can be a challenge, but sun protection is especially critical for young skin. Babies and young children are especially sensitive to the sun. There are several lines of evidence indicating that burns during youth significantly contribute to melanoma risk. For instance, just one blistering […]
Genes don’t cause cancer, but genetic mutations can. Our cells have about 22,000 genes, which consist of DNA packed into chromosomes inside the cell nucleus. These genes control a wide range of functions, including cell growth and division. When the genes misbehave or mutate, cancer can develop.
What’s a cancer scientist doing earning an award for diabetes or cardiovascular research? The two Dana-Farber scientists who received the prizes in early June say they are great examples of how research that isn’t tied to specific goals can lead to unanticipated discoveries in other areas. They argue that just […]
By Timothy Rourke Most parents treasure the big moments in a child’s life: first steps, first word, first day of school. I, on the other hand, treasure every moment with my son, Declan – the simple act of eating breakfast together, watching him do his homework, or taking him to […]
Treatment with three relatively new “targeted” cancer drugs has been linked to a slightly elevated chance of fatal side effects, according to a new analysis led by scientists at Dana-Farber. The study looked at three drugs: sorafenib (Nexavar), sunitinib (Sutent), and pazopanib (Votrient). Sorafenib is approved to treat kidney and […]
As we recognize World Cancer Day today, it’s important to remember that one-third of cancer deaths worldwide are tied to lifestyle and diet, making them largely preventable. Dr. Judy Garber, director of Dana-Farber’s Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention, provides some perspective, and highlights some of the steps individuals can […]
Many women who discover a breast lump confide in a friend or family member before talking to their doctor. They may be told that if a breast lump hurts or is sore, it probably isn’t cancer. To find out whether this urban legend holds any truth, we checked with Beth Overmoyer, MD, FACP, […]