The drug Avastin, when added to initial therapy for glioblastoma, can give patients a few extra months’ reprieve before their brain tumors start growing again, but does it make their quality of life better – or worse?
That’s a matter of heated debate for doctors – and confusion for patients – after two large clinical trials reported conflicting results at the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference in June. Some experts contend that Avastin lacked sufficient benefit for use as an “upfront” treatment for glioblastomas – the most common and aggressive brain tumors.
by Richard Saltus
People experiencing an unusual or particularly bad headache sometimes worry they might have a brain tumor. Headaches are very common and usually don’t signal a serious illness – but when should you be checked out by a doctor?
We asked neuro-oncologists Lakshmi Nayak, MD, and Eudocia Quant Lee, MD, MPH from the Dana-Farber Center for Neuro-Oncology to review the red flags that warrant a medical follow up:
by Robert Levy
More than 18,000 cancer scientists from around the world are in Washington, D.C., this week for the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). The meeting serves as a forum for the presentation and discussion of the latest discoveries in cancer research.
The meeting coincides with the Rally for Medical Research, which was held Monday morning on the steps of the Carnegie Library in the nation’s capital.
Musician Sheryl Crow announced on June 5 that she has a benign brain tumor known as a meningioma. Below, doctors from Dana-Farber’s Center for Neuro-Oncology describe this condition. The singer-songwriter, a breast cancer survivor, visited Dana-Farber in 2006.
Meningiomas are tumors on the surface of the brain, spinal cord, and fluid spaces. They are the most common type of brain tumor, with approximately 55,000 new cases diagnosed annually in the United States. Read more
Hilary Olson had no reason to suspect that her daughter Hailey might have a brain tumor.
“Her smile was starting to droop a little, and one of her eyes was a little jumpy,” says the 6-year-old’s mother. “We took her to see a neurologist, and he thought she might have pinched a nerve.
“But when he sent us to Boston Children’s Hospital for an MRI,” she continues, “the radiologists sent us straight down to the emergency room.” Read more
More than 600,000 people in the United States are living with a primary brain tumor — one that begins and stays in the brain — and over 60,000 adults and children will be diagnosed with a brain tumor this year.
In recognition of May as Brain Tumor Awareness Month, we asked David Reardon, MD, clinical director of the Center for Neuro-Oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, for the latest advances in brain tumor research and patient care. Read more
In low-income, minority communities, tight-knit social connections can lead people to eat right and be physically active — but they can also sometimes be an obstacle to a healthy lifestyle, according to new research by investigators at Dana-Farber and the Harvard School of Public Health.
The findings present a mixed picture of the benefits and potential downsides of social ties as they relate to a healthy lifestyle.
Bryan Reilly has a full-time job and a passion for exercise. He skis, climbs mountains, works out regularly, and runs a mile in under 8 minutes.
Any 56-year-old could be proud of being so fit. But for Reilly, it’s a special triumph: Less than two years ago he was diagnosed with an often-lethal and aggressive brain tumor.
At age 7, Sophie was treated for a brain tumor at Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer Center. As a result of her treatment, she struggled with ongoing fatigue, weakness on her right side, and chronic headaches.
Sophie began her freshman year as one of 2,000 students at a large public high school. Despite support from special education teachers, she struggled with the academic demands of her classes and the overwhelming size of the school. An extremely dedicated student, she spent hours each evening on homework, but she tired easily, which made the headaches worse, and she struggled to get through each school day.
More children than ever are surviving cancer. But some will pay a price in long-term effects. Radiation and chemotherapy for cancers involving the central nervous system (including brain tumors and leukemia) can impair problem-solving, multi-tasking, attention, and memory, putting students at risk for learning difficulties. Read more