What is a Tumor, Exactly?

Medically reviewed by Robert I. Haddad, MD Strictly speaking, a tumor is an abnormal swelling or enlargement within the body, but the term most commonly refers to a growth of cancerous cells. In the broadest sense, then, a harmless cyst or collection of fluid would be considered a tumor. But when a physician uses the … Continued

My Cancer Recurrence: The Importance of Feeling All the Feelings

By Lyndsay McCaffery Recurrence. The word all cancer survivors know and fear. I don’t know about others, but I felt I was the one who was most definitely never getting cancer again. I worked hard to get on the other side of my diagnosis and long recovery. I put in the work writing in a … Continued

What’s the Difference Between Melanoma and Skin Cancer?

Melanoma is not a different disease from skin cancer. It is, rather, a form of skin cancer. Of the three major forms of skin cancer, melanoma is the rarest but also the most aggressive. It is diagnosed in more than 96,000 people in the United States each year, and patients generally have a good prognosis … Continued

Does Soda Cause Cancer?

Nutritionists and doctors agree that consuming soft drinks in excess is associated with several health complications and diseases, including weight gain or obesity, poor dental health, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and more. Some of these health conditions can play a role in increasing one’s risk of developing cancer.

Vaping/E-Cigarette Health Risks: What’s the Latest?

Medically reviewed by Andy Tan, PhD, MPH E-cigarettes have grown in popularity in recent years, especially among teens, whose e-cigarette use now exceeds that of traditional cigarettes. With this increase have come growing concerns about the long- and short-term health effects of vaping. We spoke with Dana-Farber’s Andy Tan, PhD, MPH, who studies how communication … Continued

What Is Scalp Cooling and How Does It Work?

Scalp cooling is a simple treatment developed to help prevent or reduce hair loss caused by chemotherapy. Chemotherapy works by targeting rapidly dividing cells, and hair is the second fastest dividing cell — which is why many chemotherapy drugs cause hair loss. Scalp cooling reduces the blood flow to the cells that produce hair and … Continued

Lawn Care and Cancer Risk: What You Need to Know

Medically reviewed by Timothy Rebbeck, PhD Lawn care can help grass become and stay full, green, and healthy, but are the chemicals and fertilizers that you use to take care of your lawn increasing your cancer risk? Fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides are common lawn care products. Although frequent exposure to chemicals in these products can … Continued

Do Morning People Have a Lower Risk of Breast Cancer?

Medically reviewed by Jennifer A. Ligibel, MD There may be more advantages to being a morning person than waking up bright-eyed and eager to take on the day. In a recent study involving nearly 400,000 women, British researchers found evidence that a preference for mornings was associated with a slight reduction in breast cancer risk. … Continued

Which Countries Have the Highest and Lowest Cancer Rates? [Updated 2019]

There were an estimated 18 million cancer cases around the world in 2018, according to the World Cancer Research Fund International. Of those cases, the United States had the fifth highest number of new diagnoses, with 352 cases per 100,000 people. These statistics are age-standardized — a summary measure of the rate of disease that … Continued

Is Itching a Sign of Cancer?

Medically reviewed by Elizabeth Buchbinder, MD, and Jennifer Crombie, MD Got an itch that just won’t go away? Also known as pruritus (proo-rai-tuhs), itchy skin can have a wide variety of causes, including seasonal allergies and dry skin; various skin conditions, such as eczema; and even certain detergents and lotions. The good news is that … Continued

What is the JUUL?

Medically reviewed by Andy Tan, MPH, PhD JUUL is a brand of electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette, that enables users to inhale vapor infused with nicotine, flavorings, and other compounds. Introduced in 2015, JUULs work much as other e-cigarettes do, but because they’re small and sleek — resembling a USB flash drive — and come in … Continued

What is a Gene Mutation?

Medically reviewed by Huma Rana, MD A mutation is a change in the sequence of DNA units, which are like the letters of the alphabet, that make up the genetic instructions that determine a cell’s structure and function. A mutation in a gene could be compared to a simple misspelling of a word by a … Continued

What are PFASs and Are They Linked to Cancer?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are chemicals whose ability to repel oil and water has led them to be used in a wide variety of consumer products, such as non-stick cookware, water-repellent clothing, stain-resistant fabrics and carpets, some cosmetics, and food containers that resist grease and oil. They’re highly stable chemicals, so they can persist … Continued

What’s the Difference Between Cancer Grade and Cancer Stage?

When solid tumors are diagnosed, they are often assigned a grade and a stage. Both factors are key considerations when physicians devise a treatment plan. Tumors are assigned a grade based on the appearance of their cells under a microscope: Low-grade tumor cells resemble normal cells more closely than high-grade tumor cells do. The grade … Continued

Does Burnt Food Cause Cancer?

Medically reviewed by Stacy Kennedy MPH, RD/LDN, CSO Have you ever left a meal in the oven for too long or set the toaster too high? Maybe you’ve fried something in a pan and really fried it. Burning food is a common occurrence — but can these seemingly minor incidents put you at an increased … Continued

How to Live (and Thrive) with an Ostomy

Medically reviewed by Kimmie Ng, MD, MPH An ostomy, or stoma, is a surgical opening in the skin that functions as an alternate way to remove waste products from the body. An ostomy may be necessary for a variety of reasons, including bowel disease, birth defects, and cancer. There are three different types of ostomy: … Continued

Tips for Managing Your Child’s Treatment-Related Nausea

Medically reviewed by Kristen Uhl, PhD Treatment-induced nausea is an unpleasant side effect that can occur before, during, or after cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. Antiemetic medications are typically used to treat nausea and vomiting, but there are other strategies that can help. Kristen Uhl, PhD, of Pediatric Psychosocial Oncology at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s … Continued

Worth the Shot: No, Vaccines Won’t Give You Cancer

Medically reviewed by Patrick Ott, MD, PhD There are a lot of concerns about the potential risks of vaccines, including fears that vaccines can cause autism, can infect the recipient with the disease the vaccine is designed to prevent, and are generally unsafe. Rest assured: Vaccination is one of the most convenient and safest preventative … Continued

Does WiFi Exposure Lead to Cancer?

Medically reviewed by David E. Kozono, MD, PhD WiFi and the electronic devices that connect to it, such as cellphones, laptops, and wireless headphones, are all around us. So far, there is no consistent evidence that WiFi routers or WiFi-powered devices increase cancer risk. What is WiFi? WiFi uses radio waves to provide network connectivity. … Continued

Understanding Your Pathology Report

Medically reviewed by Stuart J. Schnitt, MD, and George L. Mutter, MD A pathology report describes the findings in a tissue sample (biopsy or excision), which are always submitted to a pathologist after being removed from a patient. The tissue is sliced very thin and stained on a glass slide for a pathologist to examine … Continued