At 91 Years Old, Sandy Cunningham Keeps On Volunteering for Cancer Patients

Sandy Cunningham 150

Ingersoll “Sandy” Cunningham has the dignified, silver-haired appearance of a man you’d expect to find sipping iced tea at the country club. So what is this Harvard-educated great-grandfather doing pushing food carts through the hallways of Dana-Farber, handing out sandwiches to patients? “You’ve got to have some objective when you get up in the morning, a purpose and a place to be,” says Cunningham, 91, a retired investment advisor, and for the last 16 years, a weekly volunteer at Dana-Farber. “This is mine. I used to take care of people and their money; now I take care of people facing …

Continue reading

Solving Puzzles with Cigall Kadoch

SMALL_SOG_1102_15

Growing up in the San Francisco area, Cigall Kadoch, PhD, had a passion for puzzles. The daughter of a Moroccan-born, Israeli-raised father and a mother from Michigan who together developed an interior design business, Kadoch excelled in school and pretty much everything else. Above all, she loved to solve brain-teasers. In high school, however, Kadoch came up against a problem that defied solution. Breast cancer took the life of a beloved family caretaker who had nurtured her interests in science and nature. “I was deeply saddened and very frustrated at my lack of understanding of what had happened,” recalls Kadoch, …

Continue reading

Isolation Patients Bond During Treatment

Isolation patients Shannon and Zack bond during treatment

This post originally appeared on the Jimmy Fund blog. By Erica Equi “People would say ‘I feel bad for her’…I’m the same person I ever was, but better, stronger,” says 14-year-old Shannon Curley, reflecting on the time she spent in isolation treatment at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. “I wouldn’t change anything. I’ve met so many amazing people and learned some important things.” In December 2012, Shannon, a middle school basketball star and Billerica native, was diagnosed with acute bilineal leukemia. Due to the rarity and nature of her leukemia, doctors recommended an aggressive treatment plan. After three …

Continue reading

Coping with Breast Cancer as a Young Adult

Young women breast cancer Hangout

Young women with breast cancer face many unique emotional challenges: They may be in college, dating, starting a career, raising a family, or trying to start one. “Cancer disrupts many aspects of young adulthood such as family planning, careers, relationships, sexuality, and sexual health,” said Karen Fasciano, PsyD, clinical psychologist and director of Dana-Farber’s Young Adult Program, who recently joined four young women in different stages of breast cancer treatment to discuss their experiences. During a Google+ Hangout, Heidi Floyd, Nadia Tase, Danielle Ameden, and Beverly McKee, MSW, LCSW, shared with viewers the challenges they faced, ways they found support …

Continue reading

Young Adults Share Their Cancer Journeys Through Photos

Nature's Scars

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. But, craving a greater sense of purpose, Jackson soon found a new career: photography. “Now that I have cancer, I pay more attention to things that I see, and I wanted to share that beauty with other people,” she says. Jackson is now sharing that perspective through the YAP: Focus …

Continue reading

Approval of Targeted Lung Cancer Drug Iressa Culminates Long Research Trail

precision medicine

The Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the drug Iressa® for a form of metastatic lung cancer represents a return to prominence for the compound that launched the era of targeted therapy in lung cancer – even if that wasn’t clear at the time of its original clinical trial in patients. The FDA approved Iressa (gefitinib) as a first-line treatment for patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumor cells harbor specific mutations in the gene EGFR. “The approval of Iressa is important because newly diagnosed patients with EGFR-mutant lung cancer now have more treatment options,” said Pasi A. …

Continue reading

How Is Surgery Used to Treat Gynecologic Cancers?

Gynecologic cancer surgery

Many associate cancer treatment with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, but for many women with gynecologic cancers, surgery is often the first line of defense. Colleen Feltmate, MD, director of minimally invasive surgery in gynecologic oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC), shares insight into surgical options to treat these cancers.   Minimally Invasive vs. Open Surgeries Minimally invasive surgery, or laparoscopy, is increasingly used in gynecologic cancers, often with the assistance of a robot. Robotic surgery can give surgeons improved control and precision during intricate procedures, and requires only a few small incisions, as opposed to larger, open surgeries. …

Continue reading

Comedian Gets Last Laugh on Cancer

SMALL_SOG_4311_14

Joe Yannetty earns a living making people laugh, so when it came to thanking his caregivers at Dana-Farber/New Hampshire Oncology-Hematology (DF/NHOH) for the successful treatment of his throat cancer, candy or flowers just wasn’t going to cut it. For Yannetty, a Boston-based comedian since 1983, gratitude was best expressed by doing what he does best: taking the stage. “When I got cancer, I didn’t know if I’d ever perform again,” he says. “They saved my life and helped me smile again.” After a tonsillectomy in February 2014 helped alert doctors to Yannetty’s cancer, he knew Dana-Farber was where he wanted to go. …

Continue reading

How I Told My Young Children I Had Cancer

SMALL_Gabby Shear w Kids

By Gabby Spear When my doctor first told me I had breast cancer, there was almost no time to take it in. I called my husband Andy, told him, and then had to go pick up our older daughter, Emma, at after school care. We were going to temple for Friday night services, and as I was settling Emma and Molly in at the synagogue I was also calling my sister with the news. Right away, I learned a powerful lesson: even at the outset of your diagnosis, the world doesn’t stop. Life goes on and you need to go …

Continue reading

What Are the Most Common Cancers in Men vs. Women? [Infographic]

SMALL_Screenshot 2015-06-18 13.17.49

Although men and women have different anatomies, they share some similarities in the types of cancers they develop. Colorectal cancer and lung cancer, for example, are common cancers developed by both men and women. The most common cancer differs in each gender, however; prostate cancer and breast cancer are the most prevalent in men and women, respectively. Learn more about the most common cancers in men vs. women in the infographic below: