How Does Testicular Cancer Affect Fertility and Sexuality?

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Although there were fewer than 8,000 cases of testicular cancer in the United States in 2013, the disease often creates major concerns about fertility and sexuality for men of all ages.

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Five Things You Need to Know About Donating Bone Marrow

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Thousands of people who face life-threatening blood diseases, such as leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma, require treatment with a stem cell transplantation (also referred to as a bone marrow transplantation). For many patients, the best treatment approach is an allogeneic transplant, in which healthy stem cells are collected from another person. The stem cell donor is selected based on how well his or her Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) markers match that of the patient.

Although a person’s HLA type is inherited from his or her parents, the likelihood of finding an HLA match with a family member is only 25 to 30 percent.

“Most people don’t have matched donors in the family, and if we’re going to provide stem cell transplants to cure these otherwise incurable diseases, we need to have a donor,” says Joseph Antin, MD, chief of the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center Adult Stem Cell Transplantation Program.

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Infographic: A Game Plan for Prostate Cancer

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With nearly 239,000 men in the United States diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2013, it is important to have a game plan for prevention, screening and treatment. View the infographic below for more:

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Cancer Immunology at Dana-Farber

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Immunotherapy – stimulating the body’s defenses to recognize and destroy disease-causing cells and proteins – was dubbed the “breakthrough of the year” in 2013 by Science magazine. Dana-Farber researchers have contributed many important discoveries over the years about how the immune system works. Now, they are building on these insights to develop immunotherapy against tumors – known as immuno-oncology.

In 2005 Dana-Farber established the Cancer Vaccine Center (CVC) under the leadership of Ellis Reinherz, MD, Jerome Ritz, MD, and Glenn Dranoff, MD. The mission of the CVC is to translate the promising insights from basic immunology into therapeutics that benefit cancer patients. The CVC undertook a series of clinical trials exploring the biologic activity of autologous tumor cell vaccines and antibodies targeting negative immunoregulatory pathways in patients. These investigations contributed to the foundation underlying the FDA approval of the first therapeutic cancer vaccine (Provenege) and the first antibody antagonizing a negative T cell checkpoint (ipilimumab).

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How Can Palliative Care Benefit Pediatric Cancer Patients?

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Joanne Wolfe, MD, MPH, founded the Pediatric Advanced Care Team (PACT) in 1997 to help ensure children who are living with life-threatening diseases like cancer, and their families, enjoy the best quality of life.  The program, a part of Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center and the Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, and Wolfe, were featured recently in The New Yorker. We spoke with her about the benefits of pain and symptom management, and palliative care for pediatric patients.

Joanne Wolfe, MD

Joanne Wolfe, MD, MPH

Q. What is PACT?

A. PACT is a group of physicians, social workers, and nurse practitioners. We provide an extra layer of support to children with serious illness and their families throughout treatment, ensuring that the child’s quality of life is a top priority for families and medical teams making difficult care decisions.

We make sure we bring attention to the whole patient and family as children are undergoing treatment for their illnesses.

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Is Cancer More Serious If You Also Have Another Disease?

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When cancer develops in someone with other diseases, it can be more serious, according to a recent annual report from several national cancer organizations.

“Cancer does not occur in isolation,” says Lawrence Shulman, MD, in commenting on the report. “It occurs in a human being, who may have other medical problems.”

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How Donated Blood and Platelets Help Cancer Patients

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If you’ve ever donated blood or platelets, there’s a reasonable chance that your donation went to help a cancer patient. That’s because cancer and certain treatments can damage blood cells, which means some patients may need transfusions of one or more types of blood components:

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How to Ease Chemotherapy Side Effects with Food

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Cancer treatments, especially chemotherapy, can make eating well and enjoying food a challenge for many patients. Food may start to taste strange, appetite may diminish, and other symptoms, such as fatigue, bowel changes, nausea, and mouth sores, may make finding nutritious, delicious foods difficult.

“During chemotherapy, it’s very common for patients to not feel like eating, for appetite to be low, or the taste of food to be off,” says Dana-Farber nutritionist Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, who stresses the importance of maintaining a healthy diet to manage symptoms. In the video below, Kennedy explains how to combat symptoms by incorporating tart or sour flavors, eating small and frequent meals, and staying hydrated:

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New Strategies in Treating Kidney Cancer

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By Richard Saltus 

Though quite curable when diagnosed early, kidney cancer in advanced stages can become a stubborn disease.

However, the outlook for patients with metastatic kidney cancer has brightened in the past several years. Oncologists have added to their arsenal a number of designer drugs that attack molecular targets – genetic abnormalities that drive tumors – with high specificity.

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How to Prevent Mouth Problems During Cancer Treatment

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Chemotherapy and radiation are often prescribed because they are both very effective at destroying cells that grow rapidly, such as cancer cells. Unfortunately, they can also harm healthy cells that grow quickly, such as the cells lining the inside of your mouth. Patients undergoing chemo or radiation treatment often report mouth problems, such as sores, dry mouth, or infections, because the treatments make it difficult for the mouth to heal itself and fend off germs.

To help prevent or minimize mouth problems, consider these tips:

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