What is a Cytokine Storm?

A cytokine storm is a severe immune system reaction to infection, autoimmune condition, or other disease, including some cancers. It occurs when the body produces extremely high levels of certain cytokines, which are proteins that raise or lower immune activity. The deluge of cytokines into the bloodstream can result in severe inflammation across multiple bodily … Continued

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

What Should I Do After I Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

People who receive a COVID-19 vaccine need to continue taking safety precautions to protect others from COVID-19. It is currently unclear whether getting the COVID-19 vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus to others. Below are items to consider after receiving a vaccine, as well as safety guidelines you should adhere to for the … Continued

I Got The COVID-19 Vaccine, and Here’s Why You Should Too

By Dana-Farber oncology nurse Melissa Houston, RN, BSN When the first shipments of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived at Boston-area hospitals last week, including Dana-Farber, I was quick to sign up. I understand both how vital getting the vaccine will be in preventing COVID-19, and the many reasons why it is important and safe for everybody … Continued

COVID-19 Vaccines for Cancer Patients and Survivors: What We Know

Dana-Farber strongly encourages all patients to get a COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves and their loved ones. You should get a COVID-19 vaccination even if you were previously infected with the virus. The vaccine may help trigger a bigger immune response, which better prepares the body to fight off the coronavirus. If you recently had a … Continued

How to Approach the Holiday Season Amidst COVID-19

The upcoming holiday season is going to look a lot different from years past. Large family gatherings should be exchanged for more intimate settings; experts recommend only celebrating with members of your household, as anything beyond that increases risk of COVID-19. (Household members are anyone you live with, whether you are related to them or … Continued

Tips for Coping With a COVID-19 Surge

Many countries, states, cities, and towns are experiencing a surge of COVID-19 cases. Others are preparing for that possibility. This development has introduced more uncertainty and stress to an already difficult situation. “A rise in cases can make it harder for people to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” explains Stephanie Tung, … Continued

Should I Go to the Dentist During COVID-19?

It is still important to keep up with your routine medical appointments, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Going to the dentist for regular cleanings and checkups remains important for your health, even for cancer patients. Here, Nathaniel Treister, DMD, DMSc, clinical director of Oral Medicine and Oral Oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, answers … Continued

Self-Care Tips for Lung Cancer Patients

Self-care — the practice of allotting time to take care of yourself and keep up with your own needs — is an important way of keeping the mind and body healthy. It is important for patients with lung cancer to practice self-care, especially during COVID-19. Here, Susanne Welsh Lobacki, LICSW, a clinical social worker at … Continued

Tips for Managing and Addressing Depression During COVID-19

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a uniquely uncertain and stressful way of life for us all. Not knowing what will happen next — in addition to fear for our own health, that of our loved ones, and the disruption to our lives — can lead to distress and depression. This can be particularly … Continued

Institute Researchers Take Lead in Trials of Potential COVID-19 Therapies

Insights from decades of cancer research are surprisingly transferable to the battle against COVID-19. The desire to save life and ease suffering that motivates cancer researchers has been directed to the new disease as well. Drawing on their knowledge of cancer drug mechanisms, and of the adverse side effects of some of those drugs, Dana-Farber … Continued

Researchers Identify Antibodies That Could Work Against Coronavirus

Dana-Farber researchers, with colleagues at Columbia University and the National Institutes of Health, have identified a diverse set of antibodies that effectively neutralize the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19, a key step in the development of agents to treat and prevent the disease. As reported in Nature, the antibodies exhibited “exquisite potency” against the virus, thwarting … Continued

Is it Safe for Me or My Child to Get Cancer Vaccinations During COVID-19?

Vaccines play a vital role in helping to keep us safe. They work by introducing our bodies to a weakened or modified version of a particular virus (such as measles, mumps, etc.). This allows our immune system to produce antibodies — proteins used by the immune system to attack and destroy foreign substances — in … Continued

Should I Get Screened for Cancer During COVID-19?

Many people skipped or delayed routine cancer screening tests during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic. Medical providers say it’s now safe and prudent to schedule your appointments.  “If you put off your cancer screening mammograms or other screening procedures, we encourage you to reschedule them now,” says Craig Bunnell, MD, MPH, Dana-Farber’s chief … 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

Focus is On Safety and Solidarity For Cancer Patients During COVID-19

Gina Solomon was in her office on March 10, worrying about the growing coronavirus pandemic, when the phone rang with news that quickly and dramatically shifted her concerns. Solomon, 55, learned she had HER2-positive breast cancer, a subtype of the disease that was as unfamiliar to her as COVID-19. In that instant, she went from … Continued

An Ode to Community During Cancer and Coronavirus

My journey with cancer began in February 2015 at the age of 24. My primary care doctor felt a lump in my left breast and life suddenly shifted from working, sports, and dating to doctor appointments, wig shopping, and hospital visits. It was a whirlwind of emotion and action. I underwent surgery, chemo, and radiation, … Continued

I’m A Cancer Patient. Is It Safe to Still Get Treatment During COVID-19?

While it is important to take safety precautions during COVID-19, you should still get cancer treatment if you need it. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has taken many steps to ensure your safety when you come in for care. “We have safe and effective ways to continue to care for all patients,” says Meghan Baker, MD, ScD, … Continued

COVID-19 Antibody Tests: What We Know and What We Don’t

By Wayne Marasco, MD, PhD, Professor in the Dana-Farber Department of Cancer Immunology and Virology and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School There is great hope surrounding the release of COVID-19 antibody tests, which could determine whether a person has developed immunity to the virus. We would all benefit if the test results could … Continued