How to Reduce Metallic Tastes During Cancer Treatment

Medically reviewed by Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD Cancer treatments like chemotherapy can affect how your taste buds interact with different flavors, changing the way you experience certain food. A recurring metallic taste while eating or drinking water is one of the most common taste changes reported by patients. Although this symptom typically subsides after treatment … Continued

Can Stress Affect Cancer?

Stress is generally defined as a condition in which the body or mind is placed under strain or tension. Stress is a normal part of life: In fact, studies show it to be a necessary part of life, prompting us to adapt and become more resilient. But if it becomes excessive, stress can have adverse … Continued

How Does Exercise Reduce Cancer Risk?

This much is known: A sedentary lifestyle raises the risk of cancer, while physical activity – even moderate exercise – can reduce the risk not only of developing cancer but having a recurrence following treatment. What’s not so clear is exactly why. “It’s still a little unknown,” says Jeffrey Meyerhardt, MD, MPH, co-director of Dana-Farber’s … Continued

More than the Mirror: Body Image and Young Adults with Cancer

Perhaps more than other age group, young adults may feel pressure to look a certain way or conform to a traditional standard of beauty. Add a cancer diagnosis, physical side effects, and damaging treatments, and a young adult’s body image and self-perception can take an even bigger hit. Many young adult patients, whose previous health … Continued

Tips for Exercising During and After Cancer Treatment

During cancer treatment, patients may face side effects like fatigue, insomnia, anxiety and neuropathy. While some patients may seek additional medication to combat these symptoms, exercise is an excellent pill-free alternative. Dana-Farber exercise physiologist Nancy Campbell, MS, recently answered questions during a live chat on exercising during and after cancer treatment. Campbell discussed ways to … Continued

Sex and Cancer: What Young Adult Patients Should Know

Treatment for cancer may cause changes in the way patients feel about their bodies and about sex. Some may feel disconnected from their bodies after chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and surgery, while others undergo major physical changes such as early menopause or erectile disfunction. “If sex is different than it used to be and it causes … Continued

How Can I Avoid Gaining Weight During Cancer Treatment?

Patients often worry about weight gain as a potential side effect of cancer treatment. Eating behaviors triggered by chemotherapy-related symptoms, taking steroids, and inactivity due to fatigue can all contribute to weight gain. “Chemotherapy can cause certain appetite-related side effects, such as increased appetite, nausea or cravings for sweets and carbohydrates,” says Stacy Kennedy, MPH, … Continued

How Medications for Mood and Anxiety Can Benefit Cancer Patients

By Fremonta Meyer, MD Many people – cancer patients and others – have fears and misconceptions about taking medication to manage their mood, reduce anxiety, and treat conditions such as depression. Some believe taking medication for psychological reasons means they are weak, while others fear they will get addicted to medication or that they will … Continued

Depression and Cancer: What You Need to Know

A cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment can come with many different emotions: anger, frustration, fear, anxiety, and sadness. For some patients, that sadness can become a serious issue; approximately one quarter of cancer patients become depressed during or after treatment. “Patients will have feelings of sadness and a lack of energy from time to time … Continued

Tips for Managing Insomnia

Regardless of age or diagnosis, insomnia is one of the most common side effects cancer patients experience. That doesn’t mean it should be taken lightly. Insomnia should be discussed with your cancer team, as it can lead to other health issues. Fortunately, there are new and novel approaches patients can consider instead of sleeping medication. … Continued

Why Do I Sometimes Feel Tired After Radiation Therapy?

One of the most common side effects cancer patients experience is fatigue. During treatment, some patients may feel particularly tired after receiving radiation therapy. Fatigue can result when the immune system responds to an injury or wound. This occurs because the immune system uses energy to fight infection and sends out substances that make the … Continued

How to Care for Your Skin After Cancer Treatment

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy may cause changes to your skin during and after cancer treatment. Follow these tips and check in with your doctor regularly to ensure your skin is in the healthiest condition possible throughout your cancer experience. Chemotherapy Dry skin is a common side effect of chemotherapy. If you experience dry skin, using … Continued

How to Manage Stress and Anxiety During Cancer Treatment

Cancer comes with significant stress and anxiety for patients and their loved ones, which can make managing treatment even more difficult. Recently, Karen Fasciano, PsyD, clinical psychiatrist at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, joined four patients to discuss their experiences. “Often when we tell ourselves we can’t feel anxious, the anxiety gets bigger,” said Fasciano, … Continued

Helping Cancer Survivors Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Sarah Boczanowski was tired. Her turbulent relationship with sleep, dating back to her childhood, had only worsened since her leukemia diagnosis at age 18. Through biopsies and chemotherapy, she found sleep elusive. “With nurses and doctors coming in and out, and beeping noises from my IVs, it was impossible to sleep,” she says. Boczanowski is … Continued

Should Cancer Patients Get the Flu Shot During COVID-19?

Influenza viruses, generally referred to as the flu, are present year-round in the United States, but are most common during the fall and winter months. The best way to protect yourself, and those around you, is to receive a yearly flu vaccine. Should cancer patients get the flu shot? Yes. Most cancer patients should get … Continued

Post-Traumatic Stress and Cancer

Many associate post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, with veterans returning home from war, or those involved in similarly violent scenarios. But PTSD can occur after any life-threatening traumatic event – including a serious illness like cancer. “It’s common for cancer patients, even if they don’t have full-blown PTSD, to have some of the symptoms of … Continued

How Exercise Can Help Neuropathy

For many patients treated with chemotherapy, peripheral neuropathy can be an uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous side effect. The condition, which includes tingling or loss of sensation in the arms or legs, can increase risk for falls and fall-related injuries. To help prevent and ease these problems, Dana-Farber exercise physiologist Nancy Campbell, MS, recommends patients use … Continued

Ask the Expert: Q&A on Breast Cancer, Exercise and Diet

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Jennifer Ligibel, MD, recently partnered with CancerConnect to answer questions about breast cancer, exercise and diet. Ligibel is an oncologist with the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber. Q: I am currently on maintenance treatment for breast cancer and I need to lose weight. Do you have any tips … Continued

Exercise Can Help Fight Cancer Fatigue

Cancer-related fatigue is one of the most common complaints among cancer patients and survivors. This type of weariness, which typically occurs during treatment or in the first year after, is particularly difficult because it can last for long periods of time and doesn’t go away after sleep or rest. A growing body of research shows … Continued

Keeping a Healthy Weight During Cancer Treatment

When you think of a cancer patient, you might envision someone frail and thin. But while weight loss can be a side effect, gaining weight during cancer treatment is also quite common. That’s why it’s important to find a healthy balance during treatment. Here are some tips.