From the Military to Improving the Future of Cancer Care

There was a time when Bradley McGregor, MD, had what many would consider an unusual morning routine for an oncologist. Getting ready for work included putting on nearly 60 pounds of body armor, donning a tactical helmet, and grabbing his assault rifle before heading out the door. His commute took him from an American compound, … Continued

Aided by Genetic Advances, Pancreatic Cancer Patient Keeps Rolling Along

Anthony Guido sums up his life largely in numbers. He worked construction for more than 30 years, has ridden 500,000-plus miles by motorcycle since turning 18, and shares a combined four children and 16 grandchildren with his wife, Shelly. Guido is proud of it all, but what has him most excited these days is marking … Continued

Resistance to Targeted Leukemia Drug Lurks in Cells’ “Powerhouse”

Medically reviewed by Catherine J. Wu, MD Within every human cell, a fateful balance prevails. The mitochondria — where nutrients from food are converted into fuel for the cell — serve as a kind of jury box where pro-survival proteins contend with proteins that favor cell death. In the ebb and flow of these proteins, … Continued

Helping Barry’s Body Beat Cancer with Immunotherapy

Barry Nelson describes his family’s cancer history as “prolific.” Nelson’s grandmother, mother, and two aunts all died from cancer, and it seemed like Nelson might be next. “One morning, I woke up and I had a pain in my neck on my left side. I went to my primary care physician and, ultimately, I found out … Continued

For Breast Cancer Patient, Positivity Is Everything

On a sunny July afternoon, Michelle Lemieux ran onto the field at Fenway Park to throw out the ceremonial first pitch during a Boston Red Sox home game. While the crowd of over 36,000 people continued to applaud as Lemieux ran back to her family, only a handful in attendance could truly appreciate what she … Continued

Ninety-Year-Old Melanoma Patient Still Lives Life in the Fast Lane

It’s easy to spot Richard “Dick” Welchons’s car in the parking lot: the 90-year old drives a 2016 bright yellow Camaro, his third version of the high-powered muscle car. He has no plan to give it up any time soon — especially after doctors spotted something suspicious on his left foot in 2014, momentarily forcing … Continued

New Options for First-Line Treatment of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Medically reviewed by Jennifer Brown, MD Most patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) now have several options for first-line therapy, thanks to new clinical trial results and novel targeted agents. Many patients with CLL, a slowly progressive blood cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many white blood cells, don’t need immediate treatment but … Continued

Facts to Know About Throat Cancer

Medically reviewed by Robert Haddad, MD Throat cancer is one of many cancers that affect the head and neck area, including the nasopharynx, the area of the throat behind the nose; the oropharynx, middle part of the throat; the hypopharynx, the bottom section of the throat; the oral cavity where the tongue sits; and the … 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

What Are Common Brain Tumor Symptoms?

Medically reviewed by Eudocia Q. Lee, MD, MPH and Lakshmi Nayak, MD We asked neuro-oncologists Lakshmi Nayak, MD, and Eudocia Quant Lee, MD, MPH, from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Center for Neuro-Oncology, to review the red flags that warrant a medical follow up: Headaches that are new or worsening, especially in a person who doesn’t normally … Continued

Living with Breast Cancer: How I Chose Not to Suffer in Silence 

By Amanda DeGiorgi Menopause, arthritis, wigs, medical bills, less sex, no sex… sounds more like a retiree’s worst nightmare than my reality as a 29-year-old about to be married. But life rarely goes as planned, and it can take you on a wild ride when you’re least expecting it.  Now that surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and … Continued

What Are Myelodysplastic Syndromes and How Are They Treated?

Medically reviewed by David P. Steensma, MD Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are a group of diseases of the blood and marrow that result in the body being unable to produce enough healthy, mature blood cells. MDS develops when the blood stem cells found in the bone marrow become injured (i.e., they acquire a mutation in the … Continued

What Are Precursor Blood Conditions and How Are They Treated? [Updated 2019]

Precursor conditions are early phases of blood diseases that may develop into cancers such as lymphoma, leukemia, Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia, and multiple myeloma. Most people do not experience symptoms, and since doctors rarely screen for precursor conditions, they are often diagnosed after routine blood tests. “Many diagnoses are purely incidental,” says Irene Ghobrial, MD, co-principal investigator … Continued

Basic Science Discovery Leads to Clinical Trial for Patients with Chemotherapy-Resistant Form of Ovarian Cancer

Dana-Farber scientists recently uncovered a potential vulnerability in a form of ovarian cancer notoriously resistant to chemotherapy. Now they’ve opened a clinical trial involving a drug that targets that susceptibility in patients with the disease. The impetus for their research is a type of ovarian cancer with excess copies of the cyclinE1 gene (abbreviated CCNE1). … Continued

Prostate Cancer Patient Thriving 17 Years After Diagnosis

When he was 67 years old, Barry Polsky said “I do” for the first time in his life when he married his wife, Randi. One year later, the retired high school teacher and lifelong baseball fan was offered one of his dream jobs as a tour guide at Fenway Park. And earlier this year, at … Continued

Colorectal Cancer Myths and Common Questions

As of 2019, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and women in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society — but survival after diagnosis has been gradually increasing in the past decade due to advances in treatment. However, since 1994, cases of young onset colorectal cancer have increased … Continued

What African American Men Need to Know About Prostate Cancer

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 … Continued