Tag Archive for CancerDisparities

Easing the Way for Cancer Patients with Other Hardships

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By Christopher Lathan, MD, MS, MPH

When cancer strikes someone who is already facing other hardships – for example, he or she is poor, alone, or has a language barrier – the experience is very different than it might be for someone who has more resources and support.

The Cancer Care Equity Program at Dana-Farber, which is funded by the Kraft Family Foundation, helps vulnerable patients in the community obtain the cancer care they might not receive otherwise. Read more

A User’s Guide to Cancer-Related News

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By Vish Viswanath, PhD

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News about advances in cancer research and treatment appears almost daily. The pace at which new findings are reported, coupled with the complexity of the underlying science, can make it difficult to know which studies are truly significant and which are less so. It’s easy to become confused when reports seem to have varying conclusions.

Here are some tips for becoming a savvy consumer of cancer news. Read more

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

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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. Read more

Opening of cancer center in Rwanda is “privilege beyond words”

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The dirt roads in northern Rwanda now lead to a cancer center where patients can receive care for a disease that was, until now, considered a death sentence there. The Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence, which was dedicated on July 18, has allowed Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center to extend a helping hand in this tiny, densely populated country in Africa.

Dr. Larry Shulman, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, Chelsea Clinton, President Bill Clinton, Jeff Gordon, and Dr. Paul Farmer

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Do friends, family affect your health?

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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.

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Treating childhood cancer worldwide

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On International Childhood Cancer Day, it’s important to remember that global support, research, and treatment are vital to ensuring that children in developing countries have the same chance at survival as their peers in the U.S. Physicians such as Dr. Leslie Lehmann from Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center travel all over the world to deliver expert, curative care to young patients with cancer. Here is her story.

Rwanda is a tiny country in central Africa with much beauty but few resources. The genocide in 1994 that killed nearly a million people also devastated the health care system. Many people do not receive basic health care services and cancer care was nonexistent. It was impossible to even tell how common cancer was – people would die from a mass, or from bleeding, or infection without ever having a diagnosis.

The country has over 11 million people with not a single physician trained in caring for people with cancer. It’s a very sad situation.

This is beginning to change a bit. Through the Partners in Health (PIH) organization, I became part of a U.S.– Rwandan team led by Sara Stulac, PIH’s director of pediatrics, assembled at the Rwinkwavu hospital with the goal of providing consistent quality care to children with cancer. Sara had lived in Rwanda working at this rural PIH- sponsored hospital for six years. I went to Rwanda with Kathleen Houlahan, a pediatric oncology nurse and nurse director of the Jimmy Fund Clinic at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, and Dr. Larry Shulman, medical oncologist and chief medical officer of Dana-Farber, who is Senior Oncology Adviser for PIH and leads Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center efforts in Rwanda.  Read more

Bringing cancer care to Rwanda

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By Lawrence Shulman, MD

Dana-Farber, with our partners Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital, offers patients highly advanced treatments in modern facilities. Our patients also benefit from an excellent staff, clinical research, and extensive resources, and many of them survive cancer to live long and healthy lives.

Is it fair, then, that cancer remains a death sentence elsewhere in the world? In Rwanda, for example, a country of 10 million people, cancer care has been completely unavailable to almost all patients. They die of cancers that could have been cured in Boston. Read more