Immunotherapy is ‘Game-Changing’ for Metastatic Melanoma Patient

By the time Barry O’Brien learned he had stage IV melanoma, in April 2020, the skin cancer that had been halted once before had advanced far from its original spot on his shoulder. He was in need of immediate neurosurgery to remove a pair of tumors in his brain, and with the COVID-19 pandemic surging … Continued

With Help of Care Team, Patient Looks to Future During COVID-19

In 2018, Christine “Chris” Colpitt, 66, was feeling incredibly tired. The year didn’t start that way, but by May, Colpitt was finding it difficult to summon the strength to get out of her chair. Unsure of the root of her symptoms, her primary care physician asked her to come in for bloodwork. The results indicated … Continued

Lung Cancer Patient Draws on Unwavering Strength in the Face of Uncertainty

When looking for inspiration, Saila Hanninen needs only to glance at her left wrist. Tattooed there is the Finnish word “jaksaa” (pronounced YÄK SAH), roughly translating to “strength.” Jaksaa, however, is about more than just physical strength: It’s about fortitude, endurance, mental toughness, and a willingness to keep going when the odds are against you. … Continued

Mother of Three and Patient with Lung Cancer Embraces Stability

It was an otherwise normal Saturday night for Amy Neary: She was on her way to a hockey game with her husband, their three kids, and a friend. Neary had had a minor headache earlier in the day, but a few Advil cleared that right up. Then, all of a sudden as they were driving, … Continued

Care Team and Teammates Help Metastatic Breast Cancer Patient Stay Strong

As a multi-sport athlete growing up, Allison Rebello loved being part of a team. Today, living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC), she credits three teams for helping her stay active and optimistic in the face of an incurable but treatable disease. Rebello’s care team at Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber/Brigham and … Continued

Patient Facing a Rare Head and Neck Cancer Finds His Voice Again

Sitting on his living room couch one day in 2016, Scott Turley had to fight back tears as he read a book to his young children. A rare cancer diagnosis that led to a 16 hour surgery to remove a tumor in his trachea had resulted in the loss of his larynx and vocal cords the … Continued

Patient in Remission From Breast Cancer Mentors Other Patients

It’s impossible for Jenn Thompson to forget the low moments of her experience with cancer — her diagnosis, her hair falling out, and the sense that she lost a piece of herself. But now, more than five years after completing treatment, Thompson can say that these aren’t the memories that have defined her. “It wasn’t … Continued

Ovarian Cancer Patient Benefits From New Research

Two things most surprised Jackie Page about her stage III ovarian cancer diagnosis in early 2019. She had no family history of the disease, and she had just turned 52 — a younger age than many women who learn they have it.  What most worried her was whether she would have good options for treatment: … Continued

Glioblastoma Patient Marks Major Milestones in Treatment and Life

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, … Continued

Spurring Natural Killer Cells to Fight Head and Neck Cancer

Excited to be the first patient in a novel clinical trial, Jon Woods is hoping that an infusion of immune natural killer cells donated by his son will beat back the metastatic cancer he has battled for four years. “I’m upbeat [and] I’m happy to be a pioneer,” says Woods, 65, a retired postal worker … Continued

Patient Living Life Despite Leukemia and COVID-19

Tim O’Neill likes to keep moving — whether on his boat, his motorcycle, in his running shoes, or while steering an RV across 47 states. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) has failed to stop him from these pursuits, and he’s determined not to let a pandemic do so either. “I’m more careful these days because of … Continued

Despite Stage IV Cancer Diagnosis, Military Veteran Never Loses Hope

Scott Sterling spent his entire military career pushing both his mind and body to the limit. A member of the 75th Ranger Regiment, the U.S. Army’s premier large-scale special operations force and a special mission unit within the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Sterling was trained to endure and overcome any challenge placed in front … Continued

Brain Tumor Doesn’t Stop Patient from Living A Full Life

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 … Continued

Surgical Nurse Stays on Shift During Inflammatory Breast Cancer Treatment

As a nurse, Nadege Vilnaigre has devoted her professional life to helping those facing serious medical challenges. Her determination to stay on the job hasn’t waned — even in the face of her own experience with cancer. Vilnaigre is being treated at Dana-Farber for inflammatory breast cancer, which she was diagnosed with in September 2019. … Continued

Cancer Patient Faces Multiple Diagnoses with the Strength of a Warrior

One bout of cancer is enough to contend with, but since 2014 Mary Johnson has had to cope with four different cancers and related conditions. Despite these tests of her physical and emotional strength, Johnson is doing well today after treatment at Dana-Farber. “Coming to Dana-Farber gave me confidence because they supported me, and I … Continued

In Overcoming Stage IV Colon Cancer, Young Mother Takes Big Steps

On the morning of Sept. 12, 2019, Alexa Morell watched her son, Maddox, walk for the first time. Later that day, she learned she had colon cancer. The second milestone confounded Morell as much as the first delighted her. She was just 29 years old, with a clean bill of health from her annual physical … Continued

For Patient with Endometrial Cancer, Immunotherapy Proves the Perfect Move

As a designer of fantasy-style board games, Kate Beckett knows that timing and chance can play important roles in a player’s survival. Living with metastatic endometrial cancer, she has proof both can also be helpful in the real world. Beckett had already endured a hysterectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, and a serious kidney infection during six years … Continued

Dana-Farber Patient Recovering Well After Cancer and the Coronavirus

Pam Dobay is a warrior. In the last three years, the 67-year-old has dealt with a cancer diagnosis and stem cell transplant before recently contracting the coronavirus. None of it was easy, but today, Dobay is recovering at home. She says she cannot begin to express the gratitude she feels towards everyone who has cared … Continued