Tag Archive for Chemotherapy

Can Acupuncture Ease Cancer Symptoms?

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by Richard Saltus

One of the oldest healing practices in the world, acupuncture is beginning to have a role in alleviating pain and discomfort associated with cancer and its treatments. Acupuncturists use fine needles to penetrate the skin and stimulate – manually or electrically – specific points on the body.

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How to Get Ready for Your First Chemotherapy

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If you have your first chemotherapy appointment coming up, you’re likely thinking about a hundred things. In this short video, a Dana-Farber breast cancer patient walks us through the chemotherapy infusion process. If you’re anxious about your first chemo appointment, the video is a good place to start.

If you’re also wondering about the logistics of it all, here are some practical tips gathered from patients who have been there. Read more

What Happens If You’re Allergic to Your Chemo Drugs?

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By Tara Shuman

Before Oct. 31, 2012, I would have probably guessed that desensitization was a process invented by mental health professionals to make really sensitive people less sensitive. I might have inquired about the cost to put my four-year-old son through “desensitization” so that he wouldn’t throw such a fit when he lost a game of knee hockey in our basement.

Now I know that desensitization is a life-saving process necessary to treat cancer patients like me.

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Mental Fog, Chemotherapy Side Effect, Is Real and Often Treatable

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Not long ago, doctors were often skeptical when cancer patients who had undergone chemotherapy complained that they were mentally foggy; unable to plan a week’s worth of meals or organize their finances as they could before. Patients called this side effect “chemobrain” and were frustrated by the lack of recognition – or suggested remedies – from their physicians. Read more

Better Coverage for Oral Chemo: Why It Matters

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When Gov. Deval Patrick signed an oral chemotherapy parity bill into law on January 5, Massachusetts joined more than 20 states requiring health plans to cover oral cancer pills at a rate no less favorable than standard intravenous (IV) chemotherapy. The new law tells insurers that they cannot require higher patient costs for oral chemotherapy, and it helps ensure that all forms of chemotherapy are accessible and affordable to Massachusetts cancer patients. Read more

How to Protect Cancer Patients from Flu

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by Saul Weingart, MD, PhD

Flu has arrived in the northeast with a vengeance. The City of Boston declared the flu epidemic a public health emergency. Perhaps someone you know has been sick with the flu.

Influenza can be serious for anyone, but for a cancer patient, the stakes are higher. Read more

Good News for Metastatic Breast Cancer Patients

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By Erica L. Mayer, MD, MPH

There has been remarkable recent progress in identifying effective treatments for patients with metastatic breast cancer – that is, cancer that has spread beyond the breast and underarm lymph nodes to other parts of the body. Read more

Faces of Childhood Cancer: Steven Clifford

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Steven Clifford is an 18-year-old osteosarcoma survivor. A Boston native, he starts college at the University of California, San Diego this month. This is his story.

Life is made up of many difficult decisions. However, imagine my surprise when I had to make a tough and potentially life changing decision at the young age of 11. Up until then, I just was an average child who couldn’t wait to get out of school to play any sport imaginable with his friends. Read more

Treating Eye Cancer Directly

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For years, researchers have sought an avenue to deliver chemotherapy directly to retinoblastoma tumors – cancers of the retina of the eye, which primarily affect children under age 5. It turns out that the body itself offers just such a route. Read more

Desensitization Helps Patients Overcome Allergy to Chemotherapy

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Just as people may wheeze and itch in the presence of cats or pollen, a minority of cancer patients become allergic to the very drugs that are fighting their disease. Read more