Gynecological Cancer Patients Find Safety, Solidarity in Support Group

Deb Petrishen says well-meaning but frustrating interactions can occur everywhere, from the grocery store to family functions. Although friends and loved ones are often sensitive and supportive, some may not know what to say to someone with stage III ovarian cancer, especially after two recurrences. Petrishen has just as much difficulty explaining her feelings. Except … Read more

Breast Cancer Treatment: What’s the Latest?

Not only are more effective drugs for breast cancer coming to the clinic, but oncologists are making important progress in matching breast cancer treatment to specific patients and the molecular characteristics of their tumors. It’s also becoming more feasible to rachet the intensity of treatment up or down depending on the patient’s risk status, and … Read more

Colon Cancer on the Rise in Young Adults

Christina Crespi experienced extreme fatigue, weakness, and bowel changes for two years before doctors determined the cause of her symptoms: colon cancer. At 27, after many doctors’ visits, she was diagnosed with stage II colon cancer. She found the diagnosis “mind-blowing.” For Kara Stoughton, it was constipation that brought her to the doctor. She was … Read more

Stem Cell Donor, Recipient Meet Up – Seven Years after Their Cells

Sometimes the best things are worth waiting for. Charles “Chuck” Vanada and Tobias Gillmann, connected across 3,700 miles and one life-altering procedure, can attest to that. In September 2009, Vanada – then a 48-year-old non-Hodgkin lymphoma patient – received a stem cell transplant at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC), thanks to Gillmann, 34, who six … Read more

What Are the Different Types of Cancer Surgery?

Cancer surgery is used to prevent, diagnose, stage, and treat cancer. It is the oldest type of cancer therapy and generally works best for solid tumors contained in one area. The goals of surgery range from diagnosing cancer to restoring the body’s appearance or function. Each cancer type has specific cancer operations that may be … Read more

Tips for Starting Difficult Conversations with Your Care Team

By James Tulsky, MD James Tulsky, MD, is chair of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care at Dana-Farber, with a longstanding research interest in clinician-patient communication and quality of life for patients with serious illnesses. He is also founding director of VitalTalk, a non-profit with a mission to nurture healthier connections between clinicians and patients through … Read more

Who Needs Chemotherapy after Treatment for Early Breast Cancer?

Following surgery and/or radiation for early stage breast cancer, chemotherapy is sometimes given to eliminate remaining cancer cells that could cause trouble later. Traditionally, women have been more likely to undergo follow-up chemotherapy if clinical and pathological factors suggested a significant risk of recurrence, such as a larger tumor, higher stage and pathological grade of … Read more

Exercise Shows Benefits for Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Patients

Patients with metastatic colorectal cancer may be able to lower the risk of the disease worsening, and improve their chances of survival, if they engage in moderate daily exercise, according to new research by Dana-Farber investigators. The results of the research, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Gastrointestinal Cancer Symposium, contradict the widespread … Read more

What You Should Know About Cervical Cancer [Webchat]

Unlike many gynecologic cancers, there is a vaccination and screening test for cervical cancer, an important distinction in preventing and identifying the disease, according to Ursula Matulonis, MD, medical director of Gynecologic Oncology in Dana-Farber’s Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers, and Colleen Feltmate, MD, director of minimally invasive surgery in Gynecologic Oncology at … Read more

For Metastatic Breast Cancer Patient, DF/BWCC Milford ‘Feels Like Family’

As a breast cancer survivor living an hour away from Boston, Deb Ragosta was thrilled when Milford Regional Medical Center – located just a few minutes from her Hopedale, Mass., home – became affiliated with Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) in 2008. While she had completed active treatment in 1995, she knew the partnership … Read more

Can ‘Prehabilitation’ Benefit Cancer Patients?

Cancer treatment can be debilitating, but there may be ways patients can better prepare themselves for the challenges to come. The benefits of exercise in helping cancer patients deal with fatigue, mood swings, and other issues experienced during and after treatment are well documented. Now physician-scientists at Dana-Farber and elsewhere are investigating whether a new … Read more

Tips for Caring for Yourself after Cancer

After completing treatment, many cancer survivors wonder what their future will look like. Survivors can face a host of issues after they complete active treatment, including the long-term effects of treatment, as well as social, physical, and psychological hurdles. Here are some things to consider after your cancer treatment is complete, according to the experts … Read more

Making the Best of Things In The Hospital

By Rich Rothman In 2013, I was facing a lengthy hospital stay after being diagnosed with a life-threatening blood cancer known as myelodysplastic syndromes (”MDS”). I had decided to proceed with a bone marrow transplant, which was thought to be the only potential cure. After being admitted to the hospital, I had intensive, round-the-clock chemotherapy … Read more

BRCA-Positive Mom Takes Control of Her Cancer Risk

After learning in December 2014 that her father was a carrier of the BRCA-1 gene, Katherine Saunders immediately knew she needed genetic testing. The 37-year-old mom of two had a 50-50 chance of inheriting the gene, which increases the risk of ovarian and breast cancers, and was likely responsible for the multiple breast cancer diagnoses in … Read more

My Experience as an LGBTQ Cancer Patient

By Tara Baysol My first truly extensive exposure to the health care system as a patient began in 2013 with my brain cancer diagnosis. It was, and continues to be, an eye-opening experience. One big challenge that presented itself early on in my cancer journey was learning how to navigate the system and advocate for … Read more

Tips for Preparing for Photopheresis

Photopheresis is a unique medical therapy that involves temporarily removing blood from a patient, mixing the blood with a medication, exposing the blood to ultraviolet (UV) light to activate the drug, and then reinfusing the blood into the patient. The technique is used to treat graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a common and potentially severe side effect … Read more