Tag Archive for Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers

Does Talcum Powder Cause Ovarian Cancer?

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It’s been suggested that regular use of talcum powder products in the genital area might increase the possibility of ovarian cancer. In theory, particles of talc could travel through the reproductive tract to the ovaries and cause cancer. Research on this potential link has yielded mixed findings, with some studies finding a small increase in risk.

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Young Woman with Breast Cancer Finds Dream Team

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A young woman in her prime, with a full life and meaningful career, does not expect a cancer diagnosis. But that is what happened to 34-year-old Erin, who received the news when she was in Paris with her mother and sister, on a long-awaited trip to celebrate Mother’s Day. Read more

DNA Test May Offer Alternative to Pap Smear

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A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel has recommended that a DNA test should be the primary screening tool for cervical cancer, rather than the traditional Pap smear. The DNA test detects the DNA of human papillomavirus (HPV), the sexually transmitted infection that causes almost all cases of cervical cancer.

“This is an important step forward for cervical cancer screening,” says Alexi Wright, MD, MPH, a medical oncologist in the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber. Specifically, the DNA test screens for HPV-16 and HPV-18, the two highest-risk HPV strains, as well as 12 other high-risk HPV types, using a blood sample.

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Ask the Expert: Questions and Answers About Breast Cancer Treatment

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Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Harold Burstein, MD, PhD, and Erica Mayer, MD, MPH recently partnered with CancerConnect to answer questions about breast cancer therapies. Burstein and Mayer are breast oncologists in the Center for Breast Oncology at Dana-Farber’s Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers.

 

Q: What medications are helpful for depression after breast cancer treatment and while taking tamoxifen?

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Cervical Cancer Screenings: Five Things You Need to Know

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Ursula Matulonis, MD

Ursula Matulonis, MD

Approximately 10,000-11,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year. But with women having regular cervical cancer screenings, incidence and death rates from the disease have decreased by at least 80 percent in the U.S.

“Cervical cancer in the U.S. has become less of a frequently diagnosed cancer because of the institution of the Pap smear,” says Ursula Matulonis, MD, medical director of Gynecologic Oncology at the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber.

As January marks Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, here are five important questions about cervical cancer screening:

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Dancing for Hope, Friendship and a Cure

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By Shannon Watterson

If you asked a young Susan Mendoza Friedman where she saw her life going, she would not have said fundraising for cancer research and patient care. But, when the dance studio owner and early childhood expert’s best friend of 40 years, Karen Schek, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in November 2005, that’s exactly what happened.

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New Research Shows Progress in Breast Cancer Treatment

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The 36th annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, which ran from Dec. 10-14, brought news of significant advances against a disease that strikes more than 230,000 women and 2,000 men in the United States each year.

The more than 1,000 research papers presented by thousands of scientists and physicians ranged from laboratory explorations of the basic biology of the disease to studies that may change the treatment for patients with a variety of breast cancer subtypes.

Here are summaries of the findings of several high-profile studies:

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ABC’s Amy Robach Diagnosed with Breast Cancer at Age 40

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One month after undergoing a mammogram live on “Good Morning America,” ABC reporter Amy Robach announced Monday she has been diagnosed with breast cancer and will undergo a double mastectomy later this week.

At 40-years old, Robach is among a population of younger women with breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, about 5 percent of all breast cancer cases in the United States occur in women age 40 and younger.

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Infographic: Breast Cancer and Genetics

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Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, but only 5-10 percent of breast cancer cases are hereditary. Of those cases, roughly 20-25 percent are linked to mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes (BRCA stands for BReast CAncer susceptibility).

View the infographic below for more on the genetics of breast cancer.

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Targeting Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

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Breast cancer may develop in one part of the body, but it’s not just one disease. In fact, oncologists think of breast cancer as at least three different types of diseases.

Erica Mayer, MD, MPH

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) describes breast cancer cells that do not have estrogen, progesterone, or HER2 receptors. It makes up approximately 15 percent of all breast cancers and is typically more aggressive than the other two types, estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer and HER2-positive breast cancer.

“It may be the smallest group, but TNBC still represents thousands of women with breast cancer, so it is a very important group for us,” says Erica Mayer, MD, MPH, a medical oncologist at Dana-Farber’s Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers.

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