Improving Everything: Movement and Exercise Helped Breast Cancer Patient Restore Her Mobility and More

 When Sandra Noack returned home from a visit to Bogota, Colombia, to visit her family, there was a letter waiting for her. It was a leaflet sent via the Massachusetts Department of Public Health describing a clinical trial at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for Latina and Hispanic breast cancer survivors.  The trial didn’t involve any medicine. … Read more

Boston Marathon Run is Mother-Daughter Moment for Breast and Uterine Cancer Survivor 

Runners call it Heartbreak Hill, but for Michelle O’Brien the long, rising stretch of pavement that crosses the 20-mile point of the Boston Marathon® route represents the top of the mountain.   Just over three years after being diagnosed in back-to-back months with two unrelated cancers — invasive breast cancer in December 2020, and then stage … Read more

Patient with Breast Cancer Lives Her Best Life with the Help of a Team 

Thirteen years after Vici Robinson was treated for estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, she began experiencing shortness of breath. Her local physicians in New Hampshire determined her symptoms came from liquid that was filling her lung.  Then came the shocking news that this was caused by a breast cancer recurrence which had metastasized.  At 81, Robinson … Read more

Metastatic Breast Cancer Survivor Proves Her Endurance at NYC Marathon 

When Meghan MacDonald visited her primary care provider in the fall of 2022 to get a lump in her breast examined, they confirmed her suspicion that it was just an inflamed cyst. Relieved, MacDonald began a course of antibiotics, but when the lump didn’t go away, her doctor ordered a mammogram, and when the results … Read more

How Dana-Farber Investigators Seize Opportunities to Advance Medicine

Investigators who run investigator-initiated trials (IITs) have two essential qualities. One is curiosity, which keeps them alert, aware of discoveries, and able to make connections that lead to new treatment ideas.   The second is determination.   “The burden of responsibility for what is typically a many-year-long study falls on that one investigator,” says Ursula Matulonis, MD, … Read more

Lumpectomy vs. Mastectomy: Five Things to Consider 

A frequent component of treatment for breast cancer is surgery to remove the cancer.   While mastectomy was more common in decades past, experts at Dana-Farber want you to know that science and treatment have advanced. Improved screening, early diagnosis, and advances in medicine are enabling many more patients to have the option of breast-conserving surgery, … Read more

Tailored Treatment and Support for Older Adults with Breast Cancer 

The trip from Nantucket to Boston, involving a long drive and ferry ride, is an arduous four-hour journey (not counting summer traffic). But when Nantucket resident and retired educator, Claudia Kilvert, was diagnosed with breast cancer, she committed to regularly getting in the car with her husband and 80-pound golden retriever Luna to get treatment … Read more

What’s the Connection Between BRCA and Ashkenazi Jewish Ancestry? 

People who inherit mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene are at heightened risk for a variety of cancers, including breast, ovarian, prostate, and pancreatic. It’s estimated that one in 300-400 people in the general population carry a mutation in either of these genes. Among people of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish descent, the prevalence is … Read more

Research Drives Key Protein from the Shadows to Reveal Its Role in Breast Cancer Subtype 

In a branch of the PI3K protein family — with members named PI3Kα, PI3Kβ, PI3Kδ, and PI3Kγ — PI3Kβ was long treated as the proverbial middle child: neglected by cancer scientists in favor of its more prominent siblings.  In a new study, Dana-Farber researchers demonstrate that it doesn’t deserve its obscurity — that in fact … Read more

Finding Reason to Laugh with Metastatic Breast Cancer 

By Valerie Frank Ever since I can remember, I’ve made people laugh. ​​I was always the funny friend, and when I was in my mid-20s I made it official by becoming a Main Stage cast member of ImprovBoston — an improvisational comedy theater in Cambridge, MA. Once I retired from improv to become a suburban … Read more

What is HER2-Low Breast Cancer? 

One of the ways of classifying breast cancers is by the level of a protein called HER2 on the surface of tumor cells. HER2, which stands for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, helps control how breast cells grow, divide, and repair damage.  Breast cancers marked by high levels of HER2 are known as HER2-positive … Read more

Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer, Mother is Given a Chance to Raise Her Son 

Just over a year after giving birth to her son, Emmett, Abigail Myers faced a devastating diagnosis of breast cancer in March 2014.   It started when Myers woke up one morning feeling sore. When she found a lump, she rushed to her doctor, all the while in disbelief that she might have cancer.  A resident … Read more