Chemotherapy has long been a mainstay of cancer treatment. But a lot has changed since Sidney Farber, MD, the founder of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, achieved the first remissions for pediatric leukemia using chemotherapy in the 1940s. Today, in the era of precision cancer medicine, there are newer treatments and chemotherapy that can more specifically target … Continued
Chemotherapy has been traditionally used as an “adjuvant” treatment in many patients with cancer—administered after surgery to kill microscopic tumor cells that remain in the body after surgical removal of the tumor. More recently, it has also come to be used in a “neoadjuvant” setting—to shrink tumors before they are surgically removed. In some cases, … Continued
Chemotherapy infusion is one of the most common and effective cancer treatments. It has been in use as a cancer treatment since the 1940s, when Dana-Farber founder Sidney Farber, MD, used it to achieve the first clinical remission ever reported for childhood leukemia. For a treatment that has been around such a long time, you … Continued
People experience side effects with varying levels of severity during their chemotherapy treatment. Due to advancements in palliative care, most people are able to manage their side effects during chemotherapy very effectively.
Targeted therapies take aim at the specific genetic changes and the proteins within cancer cells that drive their chaotic growth.
Cancer chemotherapy is the most common cause of neutropenia, which can be treated depending on its cause and severity.
Hear the word “chemotherapy” and you might immediately think about hair loss, nausea, and fatigue. But the truth is it’s not as scary as you might think. Here’s what to expect at your first chemotherapy appointment.
Scalp hypothermia, more commonly known as scalp cooling, is a relatively new treatment to try to prevent or reduce hair loss during chemotherapy. It involves placing a tight, cooled cap on the head before, during, and after each chemo session. The cooling cap is attached to a machine that circulates a liquid coolant through the … Continued
Chemotherapy and biotherapy are both used to destroy cancer cells. So how are they different, and how are they similar? Traditional chemotherapy uses chemical substances to treat cancer. Biological therapy, by contrast, uses living organisms, substances derived from organisms, or laboratory-made versions of those substances to act against cancer cells. Most chemotherapy drugs – formally … Continued
Along with hair loss, nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy are among patients’ greatest concerns during cancer treatment. Fortunately, great strides have been made in the past decade or two, thanks to new generations of anti-nausea medications and better understanding of how to use them. Many patients won’t experience these distressing symptoms, or will have only … Continued
Marijuana occupies a complicated position among the substances used to alleviate symptoms associated with cancer and cancer treatment. On the one hand, nearly half of U.S. states, mostly in the far west, northeast, and upper midwest, have legalized Cannabis (the plant from which marijuana is derived) for medical purposes. Others have legalized just one ingredient … Continued
Cancer treatments like chemotherapy can affect how your taste buds interact with different flavors, changing the way you experience certain food. A recurring metallic taste while eating or drinking water is one of the most common taste changes reported by patients. Although this symptom typically subsides after treatment ends, Dana-Farber nutritionist Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, … Continued
Just hearing the word chemotherapy can bring forth a slew of worries and concerns for new cancer patients: “Does it hurt? Will it cause my hair to fall out? Is it safe for me to be around my loved ones? Will I feel nauseous or start vomiting as soon as treatment begins?” Such concerns are … Continued
Chemotherapy agents are powerful drugs used to treat cancer throughout the body. Chemotherapy drugs work by a variety of different mechanisms. Their general effect is to slow or stop the growth of cancer cells, which divide and proliferate quickly. Because some types of healthy cells – such as those that line the mouth and intestines, … Continued
Many cancer patients experience “chemobrain” – mental clouding or fogginess – during and after chemotherapy treatment. The condition, which can also be worsened by surgery and radiation, can include symptoms like weakened short-term memory, problems finding words, short attention span, and difficulty concentrating and multitasking. Fremonta Meyer, MD, a clinical psychiatrist in Dana-Farber’s Department of … Continued
Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), a condition that is a result of nerve damage caused by cancer treatment, can be a frustrating side effect patients face. People with CIPN can experience tingling, numbness and pain in the arms, hands, legs and feet. Although there is no clear CIPN treatment that can improve nerve damage, a combination … Continued
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy may cause changes to your skin during and after cancer treatment. Follow these tips and check in with your doctor regularly to ensure your skin is in the healthiest condition possible throughout your cancer experience. Chemotherapy Dry skin is a common side effect of chemotherapy. If you experience dry skin, using … Continued
Chemotherapy before surgery shrank triple-negative breast tumors in women in a clinical trial to the point where half of those who had not been eligible for breast-conserving surgery became eligible for it, according to investigators at Dana-Farber and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The findings were reported at the American Surgical Association annual meeting and in … Continued
As cancer treatments advance, more patients are taking anti-cancer medications, including oral chemotherapy, at home. Unlike the traditional IV infusion chemotherapy given in a clinic, oral chemotherapy is a drug taken in tablet, capsule, or liquid form. It has the same benefits and risks as chemotherapy given by infusion. Oral chemotherapy may be easier than taking … Continued
By Thomas Kochanek, PhD When we think of chemotherapy, most of us imagine a cancer patient hooked up to an IV in a hospital setting, getting his or her treatment through infusion. While this image is accurate, cancer treatment increasingly takes place at home, as patients receive oral chemotherapy or other types of anti-cancer drugs through … Continued