What African-American Men Need to Know About Prostate Cancer


The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates there will be 220,800 cases of prostate cancer in 2015, and 27,540 deaths. African-Americans have a 60 percent higher incidence of prostate cancer compared to other ethnic groups, and a 150 percent higher risk of dying from it – in part because blacks tend to have a more aggressive form. They are also more likely to develop prostate cancer at an earlier age and to have a more advanced stage when diagnosed. For the last dozen years, Tom Farrington has been sounding the alarm about the disproportionately high risk of prostate cancer facing black …

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Why I Ride: Dr. Christopher Sweeney

Team Shawmut PMC

Since 1980, more than 88,000 cyclists have taken to Massachusetts’ roads for the Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) to raise funds for cancer research and patient care at Dana-Farber. Among the riders are many patients, their family members, and their doctors. Christopher Sweeney, MBBS, medical oncologist in Dana-Farber’s Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology, is one of them. We recently spoke with Dr. Sweeney about what motivates him to ride. Why did you start riding the PMC? In addition to treating patients with genitourinary cancers, particularly prostate and testicular cancer, I do clinical and translational research, with a focus on trying to find …

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What Are the Most Common Cancers in Men vs. Women? [Infographic]

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Although men and women have different anatomies, they share some similarities in the types of cancers they develop. Colorectal cancer and lung cancer, for example, are common cancers developed by both men and women. The most common cancer differs in each gender, however; prostate cancer and breast cancer are the most prevalent in men and women, respectively. Learn more about the most common cancers in men vs. women in the infographic below:

What Is a Cancer Vaccine?


Cancer vaccines are medicines that spur the immune system’s natural defenses against cancer. They belong to a class of substances known as biological response modifiers, which strengthen or stimulate a basic bodily process – in this case, the immune system’s ability to detect and attack cancer cells. There are two broad types of cancer vaccines: Preventive vaccines, which are intended to prevent cancer from developing, and therapeutic vaccines, which treat an existing cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two preventive vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix, for the prevention of cervical cancer. These work by the same general principle as …

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Immunotherapy, Ovarian Cancer Treatment Top List of 2014 Cancer Developments


Immunotherapy, treatments for ovarian cancer, and investigating game-changing drug therapies topped the list of the most important cancer research and clinical developments at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in 2014. Here are some highlights from the last year in research: Hodgkin lymphoma Some of the most dramatic evidence of potential of immunotherapies was in the treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma. In an early-phase clinical trial, research showed nivolumab, a drug that unleashes the immune system to attack cancer cells, achieved complete or partial remissions in Hodgkin lymphoma patients with resistant forms of the disease. The success of nivolumab in this study prompted the …

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ASCO: New Advances in Ovarian, Prostate, Lung and Melanoma Treatment


“Science and Society” was the theme of this year’s American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 50th annual meeting. The meeting showcased  cancer research from around the world. Some new findings from Dana-Farber researchers included: Joyce Liu, MD, MPH, of the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers reported that, in a phase 2 clinical trial, a combination of olaparib (a drug that blocks DNA repair in cancer cells) and cediranib (which blocks blood vessel growth in tumors) was considerably more effective in women with recurrent ovarian cancer than olaparib alone.. Progression-free survival – the length of time after treatment when …

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Act of Kindness Sparks Friendship Between Two Neighbors


Those passing them in the Yawkey Center for Cancer Care at Dana-Farber may assume Pamela Desmarais is a dutiful daughter taking her elderly father to his appointments. They certainly look the part, but while Pamela Desmarais cares for 84-year-old prostate cancer patient Donald Segur, there is no familial bond between these two neighbors from East Sandwich, Mass. Just a special friendship, formed from a selfless act. Desmarais, a nurse, first met Segur when she was caring for his late wife, Margaret. After Margaret passed away last fall, she kept checking in on Segur and noticed he was looking gaunt and …

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Five Things You Need to Know About Men’s Health/Cancer Screenings


Cancer affects thousands of men across the United States every year, with the most common diagnoses coming in the form of prostate, colon, testicular, lung, and skin cancer. Not all cancers can be detected early on, but for some forms of the disease, the spread of cancer can be prevented through screenings. As June marks Men’s Health/Cancer Awareness Month, here are five things you need to know about men’s health screenings:   1. Prostate Cancer One in every six men is affected by prostate cancer, which most often affects men over age 50. In addition, age, family history, diet and lifestyle, …

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Star-Studded Support for Dana-Farber

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A group of influential theater owners known as the Variety Club of New England were touring Boston Children’s Hospital in 1947 when they happened upon a tiny basement laboratory. Here, Sidney Farber, MD, was conducting research that would lead to the first remissions in pediatric leukemia. The men were so impressed by Farber they decided to help his efforts. Calling on their Hollywood friends, the group held a fundraising drive that enabled Farber to establish the Children’s Cancer Research Foundation – now known as Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Ever since, celebrities have been supporters of Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund. In 1948, …

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Progress and Promise in Prostate Cancer Research

In prostate cancer – the most common cancer in men aside from skin cancer – scientists are working to answer some of the most basic questions about the disease while developing an array of new treatments. Using the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, doctors are often able to detect prostate cancer at an early stage. But it remains difficult to determine which prostate cancers are likely to spread – and therefore require aggressive treatment – and which are either idle or slow-growing, and can be dealt with by “observation or active surveillance.” This uncertainty could result in unnecessary treatment for …

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