A Cancer Researcher’s Personal Story

By Ellen Lori Weisberg, PhD The discovery of a lump came about as the result of a complete accident — a sweeping of my finger past a swelling as I mindlessly adjusted the ribbed shirt I was wearing during an otherwise mundane evening of television watching. My husband, a pediatrician, tried to reassure me that … Continued

Stem Cell Transplant Patient Makes Dana-Farber History

When Liz Bowen first learned she would need a stem cell transplant, she had no idea she’d be making history as the first outpatient stem cell transplant patient in New England. Bowen, 55, was diagnosed with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, a rare form of skin lymphoma, in 2017. Her care team at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center … Continued

Metastatic Colon Cancer Patient Focuses on Helping Others

At the start of 2016, Amy Ennis was poised to take on the world. She was working as a project manager for Massachusetts’ biggest healthcare provider; she and her husband, Rich, had also recently celebrated their daughter Blakely’s first birthday.   So, when Ennis went to the hospital for stomach pains and intense nausea in … Continued

Standing up Against Multiple Myeloma Starts with a PROMISE

In 2011, Diane Dike, PhD, lost her mother to complications from multiple myeloma — a cancer of the bone marrow involving plasma cells. The pair were always close, and even share the same birthday: October 23. The illness and death of her mother was extremely difficult for the whole family, Dike says. One of the most … Continued

Hodgkin Lymphoma Patient Aims to Lessen Cancer Stigma

Chloe Svolos is a social butterfly. When she isn’t working in the fundraising office for Dana-Farber’s Jimmy Fund, the 26-year-old is spending time with family, going out with friends, hanging out with her boyfriend, Luke, or traveling. She also recently completed treatment for lymphoma — so she’s still adjusting to her “new normal.” But in … Continued

Young Mom with Metastatic Breast Cancer Fights for Other Patients

Julia Maues was excited to find out she was pregnant — and then she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She went through chemotherapy and delivered a healthy baby boy, but shortly after the birth, she learned that the cancer had spread throughout her body. She would need lifetime of treatment for metastatic breast cancer. The … Continued

For Stem Cell Recipient, Meeting Donor Proves Fruitful Experience

As a fruit and vegetable farmer, Douglas Young measures his life’s work by the seasons. Since receiving a stem cell transplant for his rare blood cancer, he has been able to enjoy more harvests than he once thought possible — inspiring him to seek out the stranger responsible for saving his life. In spring 2019, … Continued

Facing Ovarian Cancer, a Doctor Becomes the Patient

By Luisa Stigol, MD, FAAP I was a 74-year-old pediatrician in practice with a multi-specialty group associated with Boston Children’s Hospital. Forty years after becoming a doctor, I still loved learning new things and sharing them with my patients. Then I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer — and suddenly, a big wall separated me from … Continued

One Big Family: Transplant Recipient Meets his Donor

For most of his life, Jim Calhoun never paid attention to college football; his football fandom started and ended with the New York Giants. This year, however, he’ll be closely following the team at Tulane University — in particular, the offensive lineman who saved his life. In 2017, Calhoun, now 45, was diagnosed with acute … 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

For Scientist-Turned-Melanoma Patient, Immunotherapy Treatment is Precisely Right

Jen Mancuso’s analytical mind has served her well during her career as a biochemist and information technology expert. Thinking like a diagnostician has also allowed her to remain upbeat while facing the greatest challenge of her life: stage IV melanoma. A wife and mother of two pre-teen daughters, Mancusco, 41, says she appreciates the intricacies … Continued

For 95-Year-Old Dana-Farber Volunteer, Serving Cancer Patients is a Proud Privilege

Ingersoll “Sandy” Cunningham has the dignified, silver-haired appearance of a man you’d expect to find sipping tea with friends. So what is this Harvard-educated great-grandfather doing pushing food carts through the hallways of Dana-Farber, handing out sandwiches to patients? “You’ve got to have some objective when you get up in the morning, a purpose and … Continued

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Beats Back Notorious Brain Tumor

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 … Continued

Researchers Making Headway on Treatment for Rare Blood Cancer

It began with some skin spots on his back and a lump on his knee that he thought was just a bruise from a golfing injury. After a series of exams and a biopsy, David Tracy, 74, of Waterford, Conn., finally learned he had a very rare and puzzling blood cancer that didn’t even have … Continued

Multiple Myeloma Patient Committed to Persevering

Russ Horn went to work every day as a firefighter for almost 30 years. But now he has a new job—one that takes the same courage, hard work, and perseverance required in his last role. In 2014, Horn, then 50, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma—a cancer of plasma cells—after a minor slip at work sent … 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

Glioblastoma Survivor is Thriving Seven Years After Diagnosis

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 … 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