Proton Therapy No Better Than Traditional Therapy for Prostate Cancer Patients

When it comes to treating prostate cancer, proton radiotherapy (PRT) is no better than traditional intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), according to a new study reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute on Friday. PRT is an advanced but expensive treatment option for some prostate cancer patients. However, the researchers found that the therapy offers no added treatment benefit than the standard therapy. The article concluded: “Although PRT is substantially more costly than IMRT, there was no difference in toxicity in a comprehensive cohort of Medicare beneficiaries with prostate cancer at 12 months post-treatment.”

New Photo and Food Apps Focus on Cancer Care

Today, we wanted to take a moment to share a couple of free mobile apps. Both were developed here at Dana-Farber but they have very different uses. The first app is for the iPad and it’s very simple – a year’s worth of beautiful photos showing some of the happier moments in the lives of our patients and staff.  

Why I Open My Home to Strangers

by Anne Tonachel In 1997, when our children were all grown up, my husband Dick and I moved from the suburbs to Cambridge, right near many Boston hospitals. We bought a condo with an extra bedroom, and we shortly thereafter read about Hospitality Homes in the paper. Getting involved with them seemed like a great way to do something useful with the space. We’ve been hosting people for more than 15 years now, and every individual and family is different. We’ve celebrated with some, cried with others, but it’s always meaningful. We love having people from all over the world …

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Coping with the Holidays When Grief Is New

It’s hard to believe that the holidays are upon us – again. The stores are overflowing with holiday goods as families gear up for their celebrations. However, if someone you love has recently died, thinking about the holidays may bring you anguish. What were once happy times might now fill you with tremendous sadness and heartache. You may even wish that this year, you could skip the holidays all together.

Does Breast Density Affect Mammogram Results?

by Laura Dominici, MD Mammograms are the most effective tool for screening women for breast cancer. But mammography isn’t perfect: it may be slightly less effective for women with dense breasts. About half of all women have fairly dense breasts, which contain relatively large amounts of fibrous and glandular tissue and less fat. (Fibrous tissue supports and gives shape to the breast; glandular tissue produces and transports milk.) Breast density, which tends to be high in young women, often declines with age. On a mammogram, dense breast tissue appears as light gray or white, the same shades that can indicate …

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Can the Effects of Smoking Be Reversed?

From the day a cigarette smoker quits the habit, healthy changes begin to occur within the body. People can lower their risk of a heart attack or stroke within a few weeks of quitting, says Bruce Johnson, MD, a medical oncologist with the Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center. Those who quit smoking and remain non-smokers for five to 10 years can cut their risk of cancer in half compared to people who keep smoking.

Making Science Count: A Conversation with Ken Anderson

When Ken Anderson, MD, began working on multiple myeloma four decades ago, the disease, a cancer of the bone marrow, was untreatable. “People died within months,” says Anderson. Today, the story is very different. In the past decade, eight new multiple myeloma treatments have been approved. Survival has doubled. “When we see new patients, we can look them in the eye and say it’s likely you will live a decade or longer with modern therapies,” says Anderson, who recently received a 2012 Medal of Honor award from the American Cancer Society for his contributions to these advancements. “And that’s continuing …

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If You Build It, They Will Come: Cancer Care in Rwanda

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 the nursing staff to care for Rwandan cancer patients. I don’t think any of us were prepared for the explosion of patients who would arrive during the first month we were open.

Why Nursing? One Oncology Nurse Explains

Laura Ma remembers the moment nursing chose her. Upon earning her bachelor’s degree in art and sociology at the University of California Santa Cruz, she received her emergency teaching credential because of critical teacher shortages in the state. Three years later, she “felt like she needed something more,” Ma says. After relocating to Boston, she worked as a receptionist at Planned Parenthood. “I witnessed the amazing work the nurses did there,” she says. “Seeing education applied in a health care setting – that is when I knew I wanted to be a nurse.”