Federally Funded Research Can Power Progress Against Cancer


This post originally appeared on the AACR Cancer Research Catalyst Blog. This week, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) released the results of a national survey on American voters’ opinions about cancer and cancer research funding in conjunction with its fifth annual Cancer Progress Report. The report highlights how federally funded research can power progress against cancer and urges Congress and the administration to prioritize the growth of the budgets of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Cancer Institute (NCI), and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Read more: Explaining the Complexities of Cancer Five Things You Should …

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Advice for Parenting During Cancer Treatment

parenting, cancer

From telling children about a diagnosis to juggling school and sports schedules with treatment, parents face many unique emotional and logistical challenges when diagnosed with cancer. Sarah Silvia, a single mom treated at Dana-Farber for lymphoma, recently shared her experience during a live Dana-Farber webchat with Dana-Farber social workers Allison Dibiaso, LICSW, and Kelly Drummond, LICSW. For Silvia, talking with her three children upfront, being honest, and maintaining structures and routines were vital in managing family life during treatment, as was finding childcare and transportation support. “Families come in all shapes and sizes now,” said Drummond, who was Silvia’s social …

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What African-American Men Need to Know About Prostate Cancer


The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates there will be 220,800 cases of prostate cancer in 2015, and 27,540 deaths. African-Americans have a 60 percent higher incidence of prostate cancer compared to other ethnic groups, and a 150 percent higher risk of dying from it – in part because blacks tend to have a more aggressive form. They are also more likely to develop prostate cancer at an earlier age and to have a more advanced stage when diagnosed. For the last dozen years, Tom Farrington has been sounding the alarm about the disproportionately high risk of prostate cancer facing black …

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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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What Is a Checkpoint Inhibitor?


Immune checkpoint inhibitors are drugs – often made of antibodies – that unleash an immune system attack on cancer cells. They’ve scored some impressive successes in recent years, particularly in some patients with metastatic melanoma or Hodgkin lymphoma, and are showing promise in clinical trials involving patients with other types of cancer. Checkpoint inhibitors seek to overcome one of cancer’s main defenses against an immune system attack. Immune system T cells patrol the body constantly for signs of disease or infection. When they encounter another cell, they probe certain proteins on its surface, which serve as insignia of the cell’s …

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What Are the Most Common Symptoms of Childhood Cancer?


Childhood cancers are very rare; in fact, they make up less than 1 percent of all cancers diagnosed annually. Therefore, there are not any regular screening tests, unless a child has an increased risk due to genetic predisposition. As September marks Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we’re taking a look at some of the common symptoms, and when parents should seek advice from a doctor. The symptoms of childhood cancer can be difficult to recognize because they often mimic those of typical childhood illnesses, such as the common cold. “Parents should only be concerned when symptoms persist, when they are getting …

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Finding the Best Targets for Precision Cancer Treatment

cancer research

The inner world of a cancerous tumor is a place of intense rivalry, subversion, and aggression. Multiple subgroups of malignant cells – each with its own pattern of molecular features – vie with one another for nutrients, access to the blood supply, and room to grow and spread. This diversity, or “heterogeneity,” complicates efforts to develop drugs that target the abnormal proteins in tumor cells. With so many subsets of cancer cells to choose from, how can researchers know which ones represent the tumor’s Achilles’ heel – the ones that are the tumor’s greatest vulnerability? Researchers generally assumed that these …

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Cancer and Alcohol: What You Should Know

alcohol, wine, cancer

Questions often arise about the relationship between alcohol and cancer: Does it increase cancer risk? Is it safe to drink while in treatment? What about after treatment? Several studies have linked alcohol consumption to a higher risk of many cancers, including breast, mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, liver, and colon and rectum. The risk rises with the amount of alcohol consumed. Worldwide, 3.6 percent of all cancer cases and 3.5 percent of cancer deaths are caused by alcohol consumption, according to a 2006 study. The type of beverage doesn’t matter – the culprit is the alcohol itself. Many studies have specifically …

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How to Help Your Child Stay in School During Cancer Treatment


For kindergartners through teenagers, it’s back-to-school time. And while this annual rite of passage is often met with groans, for children undergoing cancer treatment, this can be a welcome change – provided you properly prepare. “School serves as a normalizing experience for kids with cancer, because it’s what their peer group is doing,” says Lisa Northman, PhD, a staff psychologist in the School Liaison Program at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. “It’s important for them to know that even in the midst of their treatment, there is a life available to them outside the hospital. They should participate …

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