By Julia Pettengill
Our daughter Sophie was diagnosed with leukemia at age 2½, and received two years of care at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. You might expect that I’d feel joy and relief when she completed treatment, but instead I found the experience traumatic. Read more
By Maggie Loucks, NP-C
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 28, during my last semester of graduate school, I remember thinking that this had to mean something. I needed to turn an unfortunate situation into something positive, so I decided to pursue oncology nursing where I felt I could make a difference. Read more
By Julie Salinger, LICSW
The holiday season is full of cheer, but it can also be stressful, especially for cancer patients and their family caregivers. In addition to the extra time spent on shopping, cooking, and socializing, family interactions may bring complex dynamics, old grievances, and varying expectations to the forefront. The pressure to be “festive” can make even the healthiest person weary.
Here are some tips for patients and their families for an enjoyable holiday season. Read more
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
By Catherine MacLean
“Why is this coming up now?”
“It’s been 10 years. I should be over this already.”
“Why is this happening to me? All of the other survivors I know seem fine.”
These thoughts preoccupied me during the transition from high school to college. It had been 10 years since my successful bone marrow transplant for aplastic anemia and my health was excellent. Read more
by Richard Saltus
For many parents, their first concern after a cancer diagnosis is the impact it will have on their children. There’s a lot of medical information to digest and decisions to be made, including how and when to tell your children.
There are good reasons talk to your children as soon as possible after your diagnosis. No matter their age, children will realize something is wrong; they may discover the truth accidentally from someone else, and it’s better if you can present the information in an honest and hopeful manner.
By Meg McCormick
When I learned I had a stage 4 breast cancer, I decided not let it rob me of the opportunities to enjoy my life. I still have a physically active, socially engaged lifestyle, and if you have metastatic breast cancer, so can you. Read more
Although the terms are often used interchangeably, palliative care and hospice care differ in several important ways for cancer patients – most notably, the stage of treatment at which they are given. Read more
By Stacey Carroll
Watch Stacey Carroll describe how she got her strength back.
In my mental dictionary, strength had to do with will power and physical ability, and I believed I was strong according to my definition. I’ve been in the US Army for 20 years, served as a Commander twice, had been to Iraq and seen the brutality of war, kick-boxed in competitions, and worked as an ICU nurse.
Diagnosed with breast cancer during my tour in Iraq, I received my care at Dana-Farber/New Hampshire Oncology-Hematology. I never envisioned the type of strength I would need. My definition had to be altered. Read more
by Richard Saltus
Living with cancer is a physical and emotional challenge, but people may also find it hampers their thought processes and memory. Often the deficits are temporary, but sometimes they persist or appear months or years later as delayed effects.
Cognitive difficulties, says Clare Humphreys, PhD, a neuropsychologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, “are caused not just by the direct effect of cancer, but also the effects of treatment, as well as factors like pain, disrupted sleep, anxiety, and depression.”