When Is Weight Loss a Sign of Cancer?

Everyone’s weight fluctuates over the course of life, rising or falling with changes in diet and exercise, and with the normal slowing of metabolism that occurs as we age. When weight loss occurs for no apparent reason – especially if the drop is dramatic – a variety of physical or psychological causes could be responsible. … Continued

Attacking A Weak Point in Pancreatic Cancer’s Defense

In the fall of 2015, at the age of 44 – young for a person to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer – Doron Broman was stunned to learn he had a large tumor on his pancreas that had metastasized to the liver. Facing only months to live, Broman would find himself in the right place … Continued

Can Immunotherapy Help Patients with Pancreatic Cancer?

Patients with pancreatic cancer often ask Dana-Farber’s Brian Wolpin, MD, MPH, about immunotherapy, the rising star of cancer treatment that’s making impressive gains against many types of malignancies. Immunotherapy drugs, which mobilize the patient’s immune defenses to recognize and attack tumor cells, have worked against lethal cancers such as melanoma and some lung cancers – … Continued

What Is Whipple Surgery?

Many pancreatic cancer patients are diagnosed after the cancer has spread beyond the pancreas, making surgery a risky treatment option. But for those patients whose cancer is localized, surgery may be used to remove the tumor and prevent further spread. When the tumor is confined to the head or neck of the pancreas, the “Whipple” … Continued

Is Itching a Sign of Cancer?

Itchy skin has many causes, including dryness and allergies, but only rarely does it signal that a person has cancer. This symptom may occur as a result of complications of the disease, and itchy, flaky skin and rashes are common side effects of some cancer drugs. Most skin cancers, such as malignant melanoma, don’t normally cause … Continued

Can Pancreatic Cancer Be Inherited?

Most cases of pancreatic cancer develop for unknown reasons, but about 10 percent occur in families that have a strong history of the disease. That doesn’t mean that if you are a member of such a family you will develop pancreatic cancer, but rather that you are at a higher risk for it. “Research has … Continued

Beyond Cancer Podcast – Episode #4: Exercise and Cancer

If you’re 69 and diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, what do you do? For John Barrett, the answer was easy: become a certified physical trainer. But as Barrett and Nancy Campbell, exercise physiologist at Dana-Farber, both point out, you don’t need to be an exercise zealot to incorporate exercise into your life. “Exercise needs to be … Continued

How Expressive Arts Help Patients Cope with Cancer

“Fun” is not a term largely associated with trips to Dana-Farber, but that’s exactly how Yvette Colon describes the Expressive Art Therapy Program at the Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies. “Being sick, I forget what it is like to have fun because it’s easy to only think about cancer and treatment,” says Colon, … Continued

Researchers Focusing on Early Detection, Immunotherapy for Pancreatic Cancer

The challenge with pancreatic cancer has always been to catch it early. Because of its subtle, variable symptoms, the disease often isn’t diagnosed until an advanced stage, when it is particularly difficult to treat. Researchers are investigating not only how to detect the disease earlier but also how to better understand its causes and develop … Continued

A Teen’s Journey: Developing a Diagnostic Test for Pancreatic Cancer

This post was originally written and published on Vector, Boston Children’s Hospital’s science and clinical innovation blog.  At age 13, Jack Andraka lost a family friend to pancreatic cancer. At age 15, he developed a diagnostic test for pancreatic cancer that early findings suggest is highly accurate. In this session from Boston Children’s Hospital’s Global Pediatric Innovation Summit … Continued

From Cancer Patient to Personal Trainer

In April 2014, John Barrett, a 71-year-old Dana-Farber patient achieved a long-standing goal. He officially became a certified personal trainer. The lifelong exercise enthusiast set out to help cancer patients with their own fitness goals, and after his certification, began an internship with Nancy Campbell, MS, an exercise physiologist in Dana-Farber’s Adult Survivorship Program. He … Continued