How Common are BRCA Mutations?

Harmful BRCA mutations are uncommon in the general population. About one in every 500 women in the United States has either a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation.

Can Antioxidants Prevent Cancer?

Antioxidants are substances that can help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, or unstable molecules. That damage, called “oxidative stress,” is linked to the kind of damage in DNA mutations that can contribute to the risk of certain cancers, as well as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Some studies have shown that … Continued

Is There a Connection between Cancer Medications and Increased Sunburn Risk?

By Nicole LeBoeuf, MD, MPH, clinical director of Dana-Farber’s Center for Cutaneous Oncology  While many people know that traditional chemotherapy drugs can increase sensitivity to the sun, some of the newer targeted therapies do as well. In fact, the risk of sun-related skin damage may be even higher with certain targeted drugs than with chemotherapy agents. … Continued

When Should I See a Dermatologist?

Skin cancer is very common – one in five Americans will develop the disease at some point in their lifetime. Usually, it is caused by overexposure to the sun and harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, such as those in tanning beds. Melanoma – the least common but most dangerous form of skin cancer – typically begins … Continued

Cancer Mythbusters Episode #4: Is Cancer Contagious?

A cancer diagnosis can inspire many questions, one of the most common being, “How did I get this disease?” There are a host of different causes, and in many cases, researchers do not have a definitive answer. But is it possible for cancer to spread from person to person? In this episode of Cancer Mythbusters, … Continued

How Does Radiation Raise the Risk of Other Cancers?

Along with chemotherapy, radiation therapy is a common method for treating cancer; about half of patients receive the therapy, which uses high-energy radiation to shrink tumors and kill cancer cells, during the course of their treatment. While radiation therapy is effective against cancer cells, it also leaves its mark on any normal cells it comes … Continued

Do I Need Genetic Testing to Assess My Cancer Risk?

The vast majority of cancers do not have a strong hereditary link, but for people who have been diagnosed with cancer or have a significant family history of the disease, genetic testing can often shed light on the cause of the disease or an individual’s likelihood of developing it or other cancers. This information can … Continued

Colon Cancer on the Rise in Young Adults

Christina Crespi experienced extreme fatigue, weakness, and bowel changes for two years before doctors determined the cause of her symptoms: colon cancer. At 27, after many doctors’ visits, she was diagnosed with stage II colon cancer. She found the diagnosis “mind-blowing.” For Kara Stoughton, it was constipation that brought her to the doctor. She was … Continued

Firefighters and Cancer: Dana-Farber Scientists Investigate

A fire truck pulls into the truck bay and idles for a minute or two as a firefighter attaches tubing to filter the exhaust out of the station. The firefighter’s face may be close to the exhaust for 30 seconds while the tubing is attached. It’s a routine task, one that’s performed by the same … Continued

How to Educate Kids About Cancer Prevention

While not all cancers can be prevented, there are a number of strategies and techniques to help reduce cancer risk, even for those with inherited cancer genes. It’s important to start implementing healthful habits early in life, and as a parent, to educate kids about the importance of cancer prevention. However, it can be difficult … Continued

What Transgender People Should Know About Cancer

Among the health issues faced by transgender people, cancer has received little scientific attention. Until very recently, no long-term health-tracking studies have focused specifically on cancer in transgender individuals, and the few that are now under way will require years, even decades, to yield useful information. One focus of these studies will be whether hormones … Continued

How to Perform a Breast Self-Exam [Infographic]

Monthly breast self-examinations may help women spot a lump, or other breast changes that may signify breast cancer, early on. But many women don’t know how to do an exam, or even what they should be looking for. Review the infographic below to learn how to spot symptoms of breast cancer – including lumps, swelling, … Continued

Who Should Get the HPV Vaccine?

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of many related viruses passed through sexual contact. A number of HPV strains can lead to the development of cervical cancer, as well as vulvar, vaginal, penile, anal, and oropharyngeal cancer, which occurs in the middle part of the throat. Two strains – 16 and 18 – are … Continued

Experts Forecast Cancer Research and Treatment Advances in 2017

This post originally appeared on Cancer Research Catalyst, the official blog of the American Association for Cancer Research. It was originally published Jan. 10, 2017. By Srivani Ravoori, PhD As we step into 2017, a big question looming in the minds of all stakeholders in the cancer research arena is: What is the future of … Continued

Does Having a Certain Personality Type Affect Cancer Risk?

It was once thought that people with certain personality traits were particularly susceptible to cancer. Neurotic people and introverts, in particular, were believed to be especially at risk for developing the disease. Personality type was also thought to play a role in whether people stricken with cancer would die of it. In the early 1960s, … Continued

10 Evidence-Based Cancer Prevention Tips

Cancer researchers continue to explore why cancer occurs in the body – and how to stop it before it shows up. Tools like genetic testing, which looks for alterations, or mutations, in a person’s genes, can help determine whether a person is more likely to develop certain kinds of cancer. But researchers have also identified … Continued