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 his treatment – which would need to begin almost immediately and require months of hospitalization – would exceed the capacity of the base’s blood bank.
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 show that regular aspirin use could reduce your chances of developing certain types of cancer, and may be effective in treating some cancers as well. We talked to Charles S. Fuchs, MD, MPH, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center at Dana-Farber for his take on the recent research.
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 sunburn in childhood more than doubles an individual’s risk of developing melanoma later in life. In a three-year study of fifth graders, the percentage of children who “often or always” used sunscreen declined from 50 to 25 percent.
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 as their unrestricted pursuit of scientific questions in cancer biology has paid off in two different fields of biomedicine – diabetes and heart disease – research that originally wasn’t related to cancer has shed light on the roots of malignant diseases.
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 ice-skating lessons. This is because Declan is a cancer survivor. It’s hard enough to learn your child has cancer. One minute your world seems fine, and the next, you’re falling into chaos and fear. But when my wife and I got the news, after Declan had a seizure on Father’s …
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 liver cancer, sunitinib to treat kidney cancer and gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), and pazopanib to treat kidney cancer. Dr. Toni Choueiri, the lead author of the study, says that patients should be aware of the risks and speak with their doctor.
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 take to reduce their cancer risk.
Many women who discover a lump in their breast 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, of the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers. If a lump in the breast does not feel sore or tender, does that mean it isn’t cancer? Dr. Overmoyer: Between 2 and 7 percent of patients with a painful lump in their breast will be diagnosed with breast …