Comedian Gets Last Laugh on Cancer

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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. …

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How I Told My Young Children I Had Cancer

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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 …

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

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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:

Rhythm Therapy: How Drum Circles Help Patients Cope with Cancer

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Zeynep Aytekin, a 47-year-old management consultant, has always wanted to participate in a drum and rhythm class. Now, as a breast cancer patient at Dana-Farber, she has the opportunity to let loose her inner percussionist. After some encouragement from a friend, whom she met at the Gentle Hatha Yoga, Aytekin joined the drum circle group offered through Dana-Farber’s Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies. The drum circle, Aytekin says, is a great way to spend her free time while she is away from her home in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. and receiving radiation treatment in Boston. “It has made me …

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What Is the Difference Between Hodgkin Lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma?

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Although the diseases may sound similar, there are a variety of differences between Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. We spoke with Arnold Freedman, MD, of the Adult Lymphoma Program at Dana-Farber, to learn more. Both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma are malignancies of a family of white blood cells known as lymphocytes, which help the body fight off infections and other diseases. Hodgkin lymphoma is marked by the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells, which are mature B cells that have become malignant, are unusually large, and carry more than one nucleus. The first sign of the disease is often the appearance of enlarged …

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Five Things You Need to Know About Penile Cancer

Mark Preston, MD

Penile cancer is a rare disease, affecting just 1 in 100,000 men in North American and Europe, in which malignant cells form in the tissues of the penis. While not common in the United States, it can account for up to 10 percent of male cancers in parts of Asia, South America, and Africa. Here are five things you should know about penile cancer. What are the risk factors for penile cancer? Men older than 60 and those with poor personal hygiene, who have many sexual partners, or use tobacco products, are at a higher risk of developing penile cancer. Uncircumcised …

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What’s New in Pediatric Brain Tumor Treatment?

Mark Kieran, MD, PhD

As one of the most difficult cancers to treat, childhood brain tumors are the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in children under age 10. However, researchers are making more progress than ever before. “Over the last 10 years there has been a lot of excitement about new treatments for pediatric brain tumors,” says Peter Manley, MD, a pediatric neuro-oncologist with Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center and director of the Stop & Shop Family Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Outcomes Clinic. “We’re looking at brain tumors on a molecular level to find potential targeted therapies that can not only treat the cancer, …

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Why the Pan-Mass Challenge Is My Kinetic Karma

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By Dave Lafreniere I rode in my first Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) the day after my mother died. She was a two-time breast cancer survivor who developed an unrelated, rare ocular melanoma while I was training. She passed away in the early morning of August 2, 2002, as I sat by and held her hand. After feeling her heart beat its last, I picked up my bike and headed out to the Wellesley starting line. Getting through that first PMC was much easier than I expected. I was alone, I was grieving, but once I got on the road people were …

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What Is the Link Between Diet and Melanoma?

By Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD When it comes to sun safety, lathering on sunscreen, sporting broad-brimmed hats and staying in the shade surely come to mind. But diet may also play a key role in the prevention of skin cancer and melanoma. Here is some information on the emerging research around obesity, antioxidant intake, vitamin D and other potential nutrition-related links to melanoma. Obesity & Melanoma At any age, maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important strategies for cancer prevention, including melanoma. While there have not been many in-depth studies on the topic, obesity is emerging as …

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Super Bowl Champion Joe Andruzzi Shares His Cancer Experience

Joe Andruzzi

With six surgeries, multiple injuries, and many knee problems by the time he was 31 years old, three-time Super Bowl champion Joe Andruzzi was no stranger to doctors. But when the former New England Patriots player started experiencing stomach pains in May 2007, everything quickly changed. He and his wife, Jen, recently shared their experience at Dana-Farber’s 12th annual Young Adult Cancer Conference. Everything was put on hold. Joe: I had just finished my tenth year in the NFL, and was ready to train and show people I still had something in the tank, because you get old really fast …

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