Can Drinking Increase Risk of Malignant Melanoma?

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It’s well known that excessive sunning and sunburns can foment the development of malignant melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer. Now, in a preliminary study, scientists have suggested that drinking alcohol may be an added risk factor for the disease.

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What Role Does Nutrition Play During Cancer Treatment: A Twitter Chat Recap

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Whether it’s before, during, or after cancer treatment, nutrition plays a critical role in a patient’s overall health. Certain foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, can help increase energy levels, support the immune system, and manage side effects.

StacyKtwitterchat-2Dana-Farber (@DanaFarber) and HealthCentral (@healthcentral) hosted a live Twitter chat on nutrition and cancer on March 12, 2014. The chat featured Dana-Farber nutritionist Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, as well as a large group of hospitals, nurses, dieticians, doctors, and patients. Some of the topics included tips for maintaining a balanced diet, how to manage side effects with food, how to lose weight in a healthy way, and information about vitamins and supplements.

Scroll through the Storify below for some highlights from the cancer nutrition chat and tips on how you can start a healthy eating routine.

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How Cancer Can Affect Sleep

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For many cancer patients and survivors, insomnia can be a troublesome side effect of living with cancer. There are many reasons why patients and survivors may have problems with sleep.

Eric Zhou, PhD, a clinical fellow at Dana-Farber and research fellow at Harvard Medical School, explains why insomnia can be linked to cancer and also discusses the best methods for getting some sleep.

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A Tattoo and a Bulldog: How One Family Coped with Cancer

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By Cindy Coyle

My husband Bill was diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma in January 2012. Needless to say it was a great shock to us and our three children, Billy, Sasha-Lee, and Jimmy.

Looking back, I realize how two unlikely events guided us through his treatment and recovery: a tattoo and a bulldog.

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ASCO Recommendations on Family History a ‘Good First Step’

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Before any patient begins treatment for cancer, oncologists should discuss first- and second-degree family cancer history, according to new recommendations from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). The ASCO recommendations, published recently, are the first to focus on family history and a person’s genetic risk of cancer.

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Web Chat: How Integrative Therapies Can Benefit Cancer Patients

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Whether it’s yoga, meditation, massage, or nutrition counseling, integrative therapies can offer a wide range of benefits for patients.

David Rosenthal, MD

David Rosenthal, MD

“The whole concept of integrative therapies is about improving the overall quality of life for cancer patients,” says David Rosenthal, MD, medical director of Dana-Farber’s Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies. “Integrative and complementary therapies are helpful in all stages of diagnosis, from pre-cancer to survivorship.”

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Colorectal Cancer: Five Things You Need to Know

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Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the U.S., with about 143,000 new patients diagnosed last year. But thanks to increased awareness about screenings, the death rate from colorectal cancer has been dropping for more than 20 years.

Jeffrey Meyerhardt, MD, MPH

Jeffrey Meyerhardt, MD, MPH

“For the most part, colorectal cancer is a curable and preventable disease,” says Jeffrey Meyerhardt, MD, MPH, clinical director of the Dana-Farber Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment Center. “We have very good data that shows screening prevents disease and saves lives.”

With March marking Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, here are the answers to some key questions about the disease:

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Why is Breast Cancer on the Rise Worldwide?

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The number of deaths from breast cancer has dropped over the past decade in the United States, but around the world, especially in less-developed countries, the number is rising. A report from the World Health Organization (WHO) in December 2013 said 522,000 women died from breast cancer in 2012 – a 14 percent increase compared with 2008.

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New Drugs Bring Optimism to Graft-Versus-Host Disease Treatment

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Outcomes are gradually improving for patients who suffer from graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), one of the most serious complications of stem cell transplantation, and researchers are optimistic that further advances may be on the way.

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How to Discuss Difficult Medical Decisions with Your Family

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By Bethany-Rose Daubman, MD

As a palliative care physician, part of my job is to help foster communication among family members making difficult health care decisions. This often relates to end-of-life matters, a topic I’ve grown comfortable with. In the department of psychosocial oncology and palliative care at Dana-Farber, my colleagues and I describe health care proxies and power of attorneys, discuss the differences between allowing a loved one a natural death and “pulling the plug,” and use a family’s natural rhythms of communication to guide these conversations.

You’d think my own family would have all of this figured out, but sadly, you’d be wrong.

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