Is Cancer Really a ‘Battle’? [Podcast]

We hear it all the time: “Cancer is a battle”—insinuating that patients have to fight in order to increase their chances of a good outcome. It’s a common message used in the media, the premise being that a person’s cancer can be eradicated if they are tough enough. But does this put the burden of … Continued

How to Tell Someone You Have Cancer

Telling someone you have cancer can be difficult. There will never be a perfect time to share this news, and often, people worry this information will place a burden on those closest to them. These barriers—difficulty, timing, and guilt—may sway people to avoid the topic entirely, and instead try to deal with a cancer diagnosis … Continued

Scan Anxiety (or ‘Scanxiety’): 5 Approaches to Coping

Irritability, sweaty palms, increased heart rate, and nausea are common symptoms many patients experience when preparing for an upcoming exam. This feeling of apprehension and discomfort is called scanxiety, which aptly refers to the anxiety or worry patients often feel before undergoing a scan or receiving the results of an examination. “Anxiety often comes when … Continued

What is Cannabidiol (CBD)? Common Questions Answered

By Benjamin S. Kematick, PharmD, BCACP A clinical pharmacy specialist in Dana-Farber’s Division of Palliative Care CBD is a phytocannabinoid, a naturally occurring compound found in the flower of cannabis species. CBD is different from the better-known phytocannabinoid delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in that it does not produce an intoxicating effect. Like CBD, THC is found in … Continued

Understanding Palliative Care for Cancer Patients

Palliative care is often misunderstood. Because hospice is a well-known form of palliative care, some patients may think the two are synonymous—and as a result, may initially feel resistant to palliative care, assuming they should seek this type of care only if their cancer has become terminal. Despite this stigma, patients at all stages of … Continued

How to Find the Right Cancer Support Group

Support groups offer patients the opportunity to share their stories and the emotional impact of a cancer diagnosis among a group of people who can relate. So how do you find the one that’s right for you?

How Cancer Patients Can Maintain Sexual Health

If changes in sexual health or in an intimate relationship are bothering you, look into getting help, says Sharon Bober, PhD. “These issues do not have to be the price you pay for cancer treatment,” she says. 

Back Pain and Cancer: How Are They Related?

Back pain can occur for a variety of reasons not related to cancer, such as injury or arthritis; in certain circumstances, back pain can be related to cancer.

Can Anxiety or Depression Be a Sign of Cancer?

Medically reviewed by Fremonta L. Meyer, MD and Patrick Y. Wen, MD Many people experience anxiety or depression, or both, after a cancer diagnosis, studies show. But in rare cases, anxiety and depression can be an early symptom of a tumor in the brain. Doctors point out that anxiety and depression are among the most … Continued

What It’s Like to Be a Young Adult with Cancer [Webchat]

Being a young adult with cancer comes with its own unique circumstances – and Lauren Leonard is no stranger to those hurdles. Diagnosed with stage IV primary bone diffuse large b-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma at 22, and now in remission, Leonard has faced challenges in all parts of her life as a result of her diagnosis as … Continued

The Loss of a Child: Stories from Three Bereaved Parents

As told to Sue Morris, PsyD As director of Dana-Farber’s Bereavement Program, I regularly sit with bereaved individuals, listen to their stories, and help them navigate their lives after they have been completely turned upside down. I recently spoke with three bereaved parents who are members of Dana-Farber’s Pediatric Patient and Family Advisory Committee (PFAC), … Continued

Tips for Coping with Grief After a Cancer-Related Death

By Rosemary Maconchie When my husband Jim died from stage IV pancreatic cancer in April 2015, I was suddenly without my lifelong partner. We were together since high school; and when he died at age 69 I was suddenly alone for the first time in my life. The experience of grief is different for everyone, … Continued

What to Say — and Not to Say — to Someone Whose Loved One Has Recently Died

By Sue Morris, PsyD While the number of cancer survivors continues to increase, unfortunately some cancer patients do die from their diseases, leaving grieving family members and friends behind. Many people avoid talking to someone whose loved one has just died – from cancer or other causes – because it makes them feel uncomfortable and … Continued

A Better Way to Care for Seriously Ill Children and Their Families

This post originally appeared on WBUR’s Cognoscenti blog.  By Joanne Wolfe, MD, MPH How is it that, in this day and age, a talented teenager treated for lymphoma emerges cured but with a life-threatening eating disorder? How is it that, in our nation’s capital, a boy dying at home from neuroblastoma experiences excruciating pain in his final moments? … Continued