It was a bumpy road for Anne Sandstrom at first: after dealing with a stage IIIc ovarian cancer diagnosis, she had two relapses in a three-year span. But finally, treatment worked, and Sandstrom has enjoyed 16 years in which her disease lay dormant — enough for her oncologist to declare her “graduated” in 2017. The … Read more
It may not be sporting to hit someone when they’re down, but when the foe is a cancer cell, there’s no merit in mercy. That’s the principle behind drugs known as PARP inhibitors. Tumor cells that lack effective BRCA genes have difficulty repairing certain kinds of DNA damage, potentially leaving them vulnerable to agents that … Read more
Tests on living “organoids” created from patients’ ovarian cancer cells proved more accurate than DNA sequencing in predicting tumors’ sensitivity or resistance to chemotherapy drugs – and combining the two methods worked even better, say scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The investigators report in Cancer Discovery that ovarian cancer organoids – tiny, three-dimensional spheres of cells … Read more
When Fran Austin’s ovarian cancer recurred after two rounds of chemotherapy, she found herself looking for a silver lining to the dark cloud of her disease. And she found it: Genetic profiling of her tumor identified her as an ideal candidate for an immunotherapy clinical trial, which has since shrunk her tumor by 60 percent … Read more
After two relapses, Janet Sheehan went on a clinical trial for her ovarian cancer. Four months later, her newest tumors were completely gone—and today, she’s relishing in a growing list of family milestones.
Julie Wisnia was undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer at Dana-Farber when she became inspired to participate in the Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC), a 163-mile bike-a-thon that raises funds for Dana-Farber.
Mutations in BRCA genes are linked to hereditary ovarian cancer as well as breast cancer.
Whenever Joan Janssen meets fellow ovarian cancer patients, she shares words of wisdom that she’s gained from seven years of living with the disease. “This is a recurring disease; don’t be stunned if it comes back,” she tells them. “You fought it the first time. You can do it even better the next time.” Janssen … Read more
Ovarian cancer often goes undetected before it reaches more invasive stages, but there is one aspect of the disease that frequently remains ignored even after diagnosis: Its impact upon a patient’s sexual health and function. Now, as research and treatment advances are allowing more women to live longer and healthier with ovarian cancer, Dana-Farber is … Read more
For women who inherit a breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility gene like mutant BRCA-1 or BRCA-2, the risk of ovarian and tubal cancers begins to rise significantly at age 40 to 45. Women at this age — and younger — are often advised to have their ovaries and tubes removed as a risk-reducing strategy for … Read more
By Linda Dzobiek I have been living with ovarian cancer for 13 years. I was diagnosed at age 53 with Stage 3C ovarian cancer, and after receiving care near my home in Providence, Rhode Island, my doctor referred me to Dana-Farber’s Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers for a clinical trial. I have been … Read more
By Mal Malme Each year during my annual checkup with my wonderful oncologist Panos A. Konstantinopoulos, MD, PhD, at the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber, I reflect back on how grateful I am that my ovarian cancer is in remission. And while I appreciate the warmth and clinical expertise that he … Read more
By Ursula Matulonis, MD, Chief, Division of Gynecologic Oncology Immunotherapy, which has revolutionized the treatment of many types of cancer, is undergoing extensive study in patients with ovarian cancer. Although much of this research is in the early stages, it has produced some intriguing findings about the promise of this approach to treatment. Clinical trials … Read more
A new online assessment tool developed at Dana-Farber can help rapidly identify people who should undergo genetic testing for Lynch syndrome, an inherited disorder that greatly increases the lifetime risk of colorectal, endometrial, ovarian, stomach, and other cancers. An estimated 1 in 279 individuals – nearly a million people in the United States – carry … Read more
Deb Petrishen says well-meaning but frustrating interactions can occur everywhere, from the grocery store to family functions. Although friends and loved ones are often sensitive and supportive, some may not know what to say to someone with stage III ovarian cancer, especially after two recurrences. Petrishen has just as much difficulty explaining her feelings. Except … Read more
Ed. note: Niraparib (Zejula) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on March 28, 2017, as a maintenance therapy for women with ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer. This post was originally published on Oct. 21, 2016. For women with relapsed ovarian cancer that responds to platinum-based chemotherapy, a drug that hampers … Read more
By Ursula Matulonis, MD This is an exciting time for those of us engaged in research and patient care for ovarian cancer. As we’ve learned more about this cancer – its early formation, molecular machinery, and the body’s defenses against it – we’ve also come to understand its weaknesses. An array of new therapies that … Read more
By Theresa Sullivan Barger After triathlete Betsy Feldmann felt pressure in her abdomen while running, which seemed “as if her insides were slipping,” she saw four doctors before being diagnosed with stage II-C ovarian cancer. Feldmann chose an aggressive approach recommended by Ursula Matulonis, MD, medical director of Gynecologic Oncology at the Susan F. Smith … Read more
Ovarian cancer is a complex disease. Cell types, stages, and genetics play an important role for patients and their doctors as they decide which direction to take. Fortunately, patients today have many treatment options and new advances on the horizon. Physician-scientists at the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers are leading the way in … Read more
Treatment for ovarian cancer often comes with sexual side effects. Although curing the cancer is the main goal for many patients and their doctors, Sharon Bober, PhD, director of Dana-Farber’s Sexual Health Program, is focused on preserving a patient’s quality of life – including her sexual satisfaction. Bober, with co-investigators Alexi Wright, MD, MPH, a … Read more