PALB2 Breast Cancer Gene: What You Should Know

A relatively small proportion of breast cancers are caused by alterations in inherited genes that sharply increase the lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. One of these genes has recently been receiving new attention: PALB2, a potent breast cancer susceptibility gene related to the better-known BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Someone who inherits a PALB2 mutation faces … Read more

What are the Molecular Subtypes of Breast Cancer?

Treatment for breast cancer is generally based on the type of breast cancer, its stage, and other factors. Increasingly, care teams are devising treatment plans by looking at the molecular subtype of each breast cancer. The various subtypes of breast cancer behave and grow in different ways, and can be divided based on different genes … Read more

Dana-Farber Patient Benefits From ‘Growing Toolbox of Treatments’

When Dana-Farber launched its new Center for BRCA and Related Genes in August 2020, it was with patients like Janice Dolnick in mind. Dolnick’s cancer journey had already been a long one before she came to Dana-Farber for a consult in 2018. Over the previous 21 years, she’d been through two rounds of breast cancer … Read more

Cracking the Case of an Attorney’s HER2-Positive Breast Cancer

Joy Albi has encountered plenty of surprises during her long career as a defense attorney, but she was still caught off-guard when her HER2-positive breast cancer diagnosis took an unexpected twist last year. The way things turned out, however, made her appreciative for the new evidence revealed in her case. Albi, a Cincinnati resident, had … Read more

What is Paget Disease of the Breast?

Paget disease of the breast occurs when cancer cells within the breast grow along the sides of the milk ducts and exit onto the skin of the nipple and surrounding circle of skin called the areola. It can arise at any age associated with breast cancer and usually involves a single breast. Although the hallmarks … Read more

ER-Positive Breast Cancer: What’s the Latest in Treatment?

Harold J. Burstein, MD, PhD, physician-scientist in the Breast Oncology Program of the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers, provided an update on treatment of ER-positive breast cancer, including the roles of chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and ovarian suppression, in a recent New England Journal of Medicine article. What is ER-positive breast cancer? Of the … Read more

Care Team and Teammates Help Metastatic Breast Cancer Patient Stay Strong

As a multi-sport athlete growing up, Allison Rebello loved being part of a team. Today, living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC), she credits three teams for helping her stay active and optimistic in the face of an incurable but treatable disease. Rebello’s care team at Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber/Brigham and … Read more

Study Identifies Candidate Combinations for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

In their quest for effective targeted therapies to treat triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) — an aggressive disease that often doesn’t respond to standard chemotherapy — researchers at Dana-Farber and elsewhere have recently focused on the potential of drugs known as BET bromodomain inhibitors. BET inhibitors target a family of proteins including BRD2, BRD3, BRD4, and … Read more

What is a Lumpectomy?

There are many different treatment options available for breast cancer, including a type of surgery called a lumpectomy. While surgery can be anxiety-inducing, rest assured that lumpectomies are extremely safe and usually take no more than an hour. Here, Anna Weiss, MD, a breast surgeon in the Breast Oncology Program at the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber/Brigham … Read more

Surgical Nurse Stays on Shift During Inflammatory Breast Cancer Treatment

As a nurse, Nadege Vilnaigre has devoted her professional life to helping those facing serious medical challenges. Her determination to stay on the job hasn’t waned — even in the face of her own experience with cancer. Vilnaigre is being treated at Dana-Farber for inflammatory breast cancer, which she was diagnosed with in September 2019. … Read more

When Is Chemotherapy Used to Treat Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is a family of diseases with a variety of different subtypes, some of which are often treated with chemotherapy. The treatment a patient receives depends on a variety of factors, including the subtype and stage of the disease — how far it has advanced — as well as genetic factors, the presence of … Read more

Cancer Patient Faces Multiple Diagnoses with the Strength of a Warrior

One bout of cancer is enough to contend with, but since 2014 Mary Johnson has had to cope with four different cancers and related conditions. Despite these tests of her physical and emotional strength, Johnson is doing well today after treatment at Dana-Farber. “Coming to Dana-Farber gave me confidence because they supported me, and I … Read more