With precision cancer medicine, a success against endometrial cancer

In the annals of patients who have benefited from Dana-Farber and Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s (BWH) genomic sequencing program Profile, few involve a turnabout as dramatic as one recently reported in Gynecologic Oncology. Authored by nearly a dozen Dana-Farber and BWH faculty, the paper recounts the medical history of a 49-year-old Nebraska woman first diagnosed … Continued

Questions for your oncologist when you’re diagnosed with breast cancer

Learning that you have breast cancer can be overwhelming. In the shock of a diagnosis, it may be hard to organize your thoughts or plan out your questions. But those questions are important, and there are likely to be many of them. The answers will have an impact on your treatment and the preparations you … Continued

Longtime Ovarian Cancer Survivor Sings a Song of Hope

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 … Continued

Tips for Recovery After Gynecologic Surgery

Surgery is an essential component in the management of patients with gynecologic cancers. Surgical procedures may be utilized to initially diagnose cancers of the uterus, cervix, ovary, vulva and vagina. In addition, many gynecologic cancers are primarily treated (and often cured) with surgery alone. Nearly all gynecologic surgeries fall into either one of two categories: … Continued

How is Endometriosis Different from Endometrial Cancer?

Endometriosis is a non-cancerous disorder that occurs when tissue lining the inside of the uterus, known as the endometrium, appears in other parts of the body. It usually is found in the lower abdomen or pelvis but can appear in virtually any organ or tissue. Endometrial cancer, by contrast, occurs when cells in the endometrium … Continued

Breast Cancer Risk Factors: Tips for Sorting Fact From Fiction

Media reports on the effect of diet and physical activity on breast cancer risk can be head-spinning. One report may suggest that eating a particular food—broccoli, for example—can help prevent breast cancer. Another may conclude that a substance within that same food actually promotes the disease. How can you sort out the often conflicting and … Continued

Tips for Coping with Breast Cancer as an Older Woman

Like many forms of cancer, the risk of developing breast cancer increases with age: 30 percent of breast cancer patients in the United States are age 70 or older. For many older patients, the issues and challenges associated with the disease are quite different from those that arise in younger women. Older women are more … Continued

Patient Spreads the Word on Breast Cancer: Never Ignore the Signs

Kaitlyn Zonfrelli thought she was too young to have breast cancer, even though she showed a common sign of the disease. Now that she’s in treatment, she wants to spread the word: don’t ignore the signs, no matter what. Two years ago, when she was 26, Zonfrelli felt a lump on her breast during a … Continued

Living for Today, Metastatic Breast Cancer Patient Has ‘All I Need’

Krista Lawrence likes to joke with her two adult children that they don’t need to get married and have their own kids just because she has metastatic breast cancer. In fact, thanks to her excellent response to a clinical trial at the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber, Lawrence is enjoying each … Continued

Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer: One Mom’s Story

When Stacy Hanson was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in early 2017, she immediately assumed she had no viable treatment options. Now that she is living a full, active lifestyle with her incurable yet treatable disease, she wants others to know that they can, too. Hanson, 49, is on a clinical trial that she began … Continued

Personalizing Treatment: The Latest in Breast Cancer Research

One of the primary goals of breast cancer research is to personalize the treatment of the disease, tailoring therapies to the specific characteristics of each patient’s cancer.  “The future of breast cancer therapy is tied to the idea of individualizing treatment for each patient—not only to the stage and subtype of the cancer but also … Continued

Trials Open New Avenues of Endometrial Cancer Treatment

In recent years, there has been a dearth of clinical trials studying new approaches to how endometrial cancer, which forms in the lining of the uterus, is treated. That is changing rapidly, however, as basic research into the disease spurs the testing of novel drugs and drug combinations. A host of clinical trials—including four led … Continued

Is Spotting Between Periods a Sign of Cancer?

Vaginal bleeding—also known as spotting—between periods is common among women who have not yet reached menopause. Most commonly, it is caused by hormonal imbalances, stress, and vaginal dryness. Vaginal bleeding in post-menopausal women can, in some cases, be an early sign of cancer and should always be investigated further. Spotting is the primary symptom of … Continued

Breast Cancer Patient, Now Cancer-Free, Finds Strength Through Her Family

The drive from Plymouth, Massachusetts, to Raleigh, North Carolina, is about 750 miles. If you’re up for the drive, Jenn Anderson notes, plan on spending a lot of time on I-95 and consider extending the trip with a stopover in Delaware. It’s a familiar route for Anderson, who was planning to move south with her … Continued

‘Organoids’ Could Aid Cancer Drug Selection

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 … Continued

Breast Cancer Patient Skates Past Cancer

Have you ever wanted to ice skate at Rockefeller Center? If so, you’re not alone. But what if balance and coordination escape you the moment you step on the ice? You may need the help of two-time breast cancer survivor Margaret Simonovich. Simonovich, a 76-year-old former professional figure skater originally from Scotland, was first bit … Continued

After Breast Cancer Treatment while Pregnant, Nurse and Son Are Thriving

Tricia Severns, NP, a nurse practitioner at Dana-Farber, found out that she was pregnant just five days after her breast cancer diagnosis. But with the guidance of experts in the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber, Severns was able to carry and deliver a baby boy—and both Tricia and her son are … Continued

What You Should Know About Breast Cancer Risk [Podcast]

Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women, and as a result, there is an almost endless stream of information about the disease on the Internet and beyond. One fact we know is that early detection of breast cancer can often make the disease easier to treat, and in some cases, easier to … Continued

After Two Relapses, Ovarian Cancer Patient is Thriving

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.