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

Is a Preventive Mastectomy the Right Choice For You?

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Does having cancer in one breast increase the risk of cancer occurring in the other, healthy breast?

Young women with breast cancer often respond with a “yes” and overestimate the need to have the healthy breast surgically removed, according to a recent study by Dana-Farber investigators. However, the actual risk of cancer occurring in the healthy breast of those women without a genetic predisposition to breast cancer is only two to four percent.

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Drinking in Early Adulthood Can Increase Breast Cancer Risk

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Women who believe that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol won’t increase their risk of breast cancer may want to think again.

Last year, Wendy Chen, MD, of the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber and her colleagues published a study showing that women who drank as little as three to six glasses of wine or other alcoholic beverages a week increased their breast cancer risk by about 15 percent. Read more

Ask the Expert: Questions and Answers about Ovarian Cancer

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Dana-Farber Cancer Institute recently partnered with CancerConnect and Ursula Matulonis, MD, to answer questions about ovarian cancer. Experts in the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers offer the latest research and treatment for this type of cancer. Watch one patient’s story.

Q: Is taking curcumin recommended to prevent ovarian cancer from returning? Do you have any other suggestions for preventing recurrence?

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Breast Cancer, a Convertible, and a Zest for Life

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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

Dating and Cancer 101

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by Amy Atwood

SWF, Bald, Undergoing Chemo and Radiation…

Oh yeah, isn’t that the first profile you would click on if you were searching for the love of your life or even just a new ‘friend’ online? Dating in itself – or, I should say, finding someone to date – is never easy. Finding someone when you happen to be bald, going through chemo and/or making daily trips to the hospital for radiation makes it a zillion times more complicated. I know. I’ve tried it.

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What Should You Do if You’re Diagnosed with DCIS?

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A group of specialists at the National Cancer Institute recently issued a report calling for a redefinition of the word “cancer,” suggesting that it no longer be applied to certain premalignant and non-lethal conditions. Such a change, the panel wrote, may ease the fears of patients, making them less inclined to seek unnecessary and potentially harmful treatments. The findings reinforce earlier studies by physicians at Dana-Farbers’ Susan F. Smith Centers for Women’s Cancers and others.

An example of this kind of condition is ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), in which cancerous cells are confined to the milk ducts of the breast. It is the most common form of non-invasive breast cancer, found in more than 60,000 women in the U.S. each year, according to the American Cancer Society. Read more

Research in Advanced Ovarian Cancer Shows Promise

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By Ursula Matulonis, MD

After a long period of slow progress, new knowledge about the genetics of ovarian cancer is leading to the development and testing of new therapies.

Researchers at the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers will soon be launching several phase 3 clinical trials testing drugs known as PARP inhibitors for patients with platinum-sensitive recurrent ovarian cancer – tumors that initially responded to platinum-based chemotherapy agents but have shown evidence of regrowth at least six months after treatment. Phase 3 trials test drugs in large numbers of patients to evaluate the drugs’ effectiveness as well as safety. PARP inhibitors work by blocking one of the pathways by which tumor cells repair their damaged DNA.

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Outsmart Your Genes: Understanding BRCA1/2 Cancer Risk

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When Angelina Jolie underwent a preventative double mastectomy earlier this year, this issue of cancer risk and genetics made front-page headlines. Jolie, who announced the operation in a New York Times op-ed, tested positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation and learned she had an 87 percent risk of developing breast cancer.

Jolie’s announcement left many women wanting to know more: What is a gene mutation? Should I undergo genetic testing? What should I do if my tests are positive?

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Living with Stage IV Ovarian Cancer

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By Maura Perkins

I can’t pinpoint when I started to get ovarian cancer symptoms. It was all very subtle and gradual. I was a healthy person. I ran, biked swam, hiked, and went to the gym regularly.

A slight pain in my left side, difficulty digesting food, feeling of fullness, and shortness of breath: those were the subtle constellation of symptoms that landed me in my primary care doctor’s office. At the age of 50, I felt like I was going downhill fast.

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Keeping a Healthy Weight During Cancer Treatment

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by Eric Schuller

When you think of a cancer patient, you might envision someone frail and thin. But while weight loss can be a side effect, gaining weight during cancer treatment is also quite common. That’s why it’s important to find a healthy balance during treatment. Here are some tips. Read more