At work on the afternoon of December 27, 2018, Chris Barnett felt his eyes lock momentarily onto the wall. Thinking he was just tired, he stood up to go get a sandwich. The next thing he knew, he couldn’t move and fell straight to the floor, and felt frozen in his own body, “like somebody pulled the … Read more
A compound that sparks an immune system attack on cancer while also lowering tumor cells’ defenses against such an attack is showing promise in its first clinical trial in patients with advanced or metastatic cancers. One of those with the best result is a former U.S. Marine and Afghanistan war veteran, Josh Mahoney. Mahoney, of … Read more
Rachel Slater insists that the hardest part about going to Harvard was getting in — if you don’t count her two bouts with brain cancer. Slater, 22, was a high school senior still waiting to hear back from colleges when she was first diagnosed with oligodendroglioma, a form of brain cancer, in early 2017. She … Read more
Dawn MacKerron realizes it might sound strange to say that getting hit in the eye with a basketball was a blessing. But an accident on the court helped inform treatment for a rare form of lymphoma and participation in a clinical trial at Dana-Farber that set her on a cancer-free path. It all started when … Read more
If you happened to be looking for Alex Epshteyn this past winter, you might have found him on the ski slopes. The Charlestown, Massachusetts resident took up the sport just two years ago and has since been enthusiastically sharpening his skills. “I’m overcoming my fear and making progress, which is a great feeling,” Epshteyn says. … Read more
Three-year-old Emily Smith loves to play doctor. She takes great care of her patient — her father, Eric Smith — by pretending to listen to his heart with her toy stethoscope, just like they do on her favorite TV show, Doc McStuffins. But Emily leaves the care of the “boo-boo” on her father’s head to … Read more
Researchers had every reason to expect that a compound called BKM120 (also known as buparlisib) would stifle glioblastoma brain tumors lacking the protein PTEN. After all, it was known to block the tumor-promoting PI3K protein and could easily pass through the blood-brain barrier — the dense layer of cells that guards entry to the brain … Read more
OK Eason doesn’t mind jokes about his unique first name, especially lately. Healthy and thriving more than 30 months after a massive tumor was found in his brain, Eason takes pleasure in telling people that he is more than just “O.K.” Eason, 69, was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in February 2018. He had surgery immediately, … Read more
In 2018, Suzy Pope was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer known as glioblastoma. Typically forming in the brain or spinal cord, glioblastomas tend to have a fairly grim prognosis. But two and a half years after her diagnosis, Pope continues to thrive and make the most of every day. Her exceptional response to … Read more
Steve Kelley is the quintessential glass half-full guy. Still, he realizes his reaction to learning he had an extremely rare cancer known as central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma may seem unusual. A few weeks after his June 2018 diagnosis, Kelley, then 64, gathered his family and friends together. He didn’t want to focus negatively on … Read more
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 have headaches. Often they are worse when lying down and in the … Read more
Heather Auger’s oncologist, Patrick Wen, MD, likes to say that his patient has a “famous brain.” For more than a decade after Auger was treated at Dana-Farber for recurrent glioblastoma, the tumor that once threatened her life has not returned. It’s still a rare outcome for patients with this type of brain tumor, but one … Read more
Kristina Johnson is a recent college graduate with a major in psychology who is working part-time while she looks for the right job. In her spare time, she likes spending time with friends and family and working out at the gym. Her life may sound like that of an average 25-year-old, but in one important … Read more
Charlie Benoit was told that he had a long road ahead of him when he was diagnosed with glioblastoma in 2011. More than seven years later, he’s still doing well—and by studying patients like Benoit, researchers hope to help other patients with this incurable form of brain cancer. In 2011, Benoit, then 48, was getting … Read more
Six years’ worth of repeated surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy with three different agents failed to halt the growth of Frances Zichichi’s brain tumor. As it kept recurring and more surgeries were required, Zichichi lost the use of her left side. Eventually the cancer formed masses under her scalp, causing pain, which was dulled only with … Read more
Anne Palmer never thought she’d face a tougher challenge than aggressive breast cancer. Then, shortly after finishing treatment, she learned her 25-year-old son, Kevin, had an inoperable brain tumor. The two diagnoses, which came in 2012 and 2014, allowed mother and son – who were already close – to bond even more deeply during their … Read more
In three decades with the National Forest Service and other federal agencies, Deb Shea helped fight forest fires and floods, mend broken limbs (including those of four-legged creatures), and save habitats across the country. She credits her grandfather for her love of all things outdoors, but when it comes to her ability to conquer new … Read more
Here’s what you should know about confusion—when it’s a symptom or side effect of a brain tumor, when it’s not, and what you can do to mitigate the problem.
Brain tumors are some of the most complex types of cancers that exist. Here, we break down the most common myths and misconceptions surrounding them.
Dave Mittelman died in May 2017 from brain cancer. The Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) team he helped co-found, Team Lizard, will soon ride to honor him and the many other close friends and family members who have dealt with cancer. “At our core, we ride because we believe in a future without cancer,” says his wife, Michele Mittelman.