New Options for First-Line Treatment of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Medically reviewed by Jennifer Brown, MD Most patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) now have several options for first-line therapy, thanks to new clinical trial results and novel targeted agents. Many patients with CLL, a slowly progressive blood cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many white blood cells, don’t need immediate treatment but … Continued

What Are Precursor Blood Conditions and How Are They Treated? [Updated 2019]

Precursor conditions are early phases of blood diseases that may develop into cancers such as lymphoma, leukemia, Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia, and multiple myeloma. Most people do not experience symptoms, and since doctors rarely screen for precursor conditions, they are often diagnosed after routine blood tests. “Many diagnoses are purely incidental,” says Irene Ghobrial, MD, co-principal investigator … Continued

Cancer Patient Creates ‘Living Art’ for Her Wedding Day

This story originally appeared on Offbeat Bride. By Jordan Kraft “Will you postpone the wedding until after your cancer is gone?” my friend asked the week I was re-diagnosed with lymphoma. My response was so feral it surprised even me: “Honey, come hell or high water, I am motherloving having this wedding, and you better … Continued

Who Are the Different Nurses on a Cancer Care Team?

Nurses play a critical role in caring for cancer patients. From administering therapies and managing side effects, to preparing patients and families for what to expect, they are often the providers who patients see the most. And because of the range of services they provide, there are often multiple nurses a patient will see throughout … Continued

Can a Tumor Biopsy or Surgery Cause Cancer to Spread?

Medically reviewed by Thanh U. Barbie, MD There’s little reason to worry that a biopsy or other surgical procedure will allow cancer cells to escape and spread within the body, specialists say. “A common patient concern is that biopsies may cause microscopic cells from cancers to metastasize to other parts of the body,” says Thanh … 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

Breast Reconstruction Following Mastectomy: The Pros and Cons

Many women who undergo a mastectomy, either to treat breast cancer or reduce their risk for the disease, are eligible for reconstructive procedures that restore the shape of the lost breast. The choice a woman makes – whether to have reconstruction, what type, and when – is highly personal, and takes into account her overall … Continued

What To Know About Precision Cancer Medicine [Infographic]

Precision cancer medicine is an evolving approach to cancer care that personalizes treatment based on each patient’s unique genetic mutations. Since 2011, Dana-Farber has used its Profile research project, in partnership with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital, to gather adult and pediatric patients’ tumor tissues and detect genetic alterations that may hold … Continued

Autologous vs. Allogenic Stem Cell Transplants: What’s the Difference?

Medically reviewed by Joseph H. Antin, MD A stem cell transplant is a procedure during which doctors either replace diseased or ineffective stem cells with healthy new stem cells or allow high-dose treatment for lymphoma, some testicular cancers, and other diseases. It is often lifesaving for patients with blood cancer and serious blood disorders. A … Continued

What’s New in Radiation Oncology? [Webchat]

At Dana-Farber, radiation oncologists like Dr. David Kozono, MD, PHD work to improve outcomes in cancer through research and deliver quality care to patients through radiation therapy. About two-thirds of cancer patients undergo radiation therapy as part of their treatment. What new developments are occurring in the world of radiation? According to Kozono, technological advances … Continued

What Are the Different Types of Cancer Surgery?

Cancer surgery is used to prevent, diagnose, stage, and treat cancer. It is the oldest type of cancer therapy and generally works best for solid tumors contained in one area. The goals of surgery range from diagnosing cancer to restoring the body’s appearance or function. Each cancer type has specific cancer operations that may be … Continued

Who Needs Chemotherapy after Treatment for Early Breast Cancer?

Following surgery and/or radiation for early stage breast cancer, chemotherapy is sometimes given to eliminate remaining cancer cells that could cause trouble later. Traditionally, women have been more likely to undergo follow-up chemotherapy if clinical and pathological factors suggested a significant risk of recurrence, such as a larger tumor, higher stage and pathological grade of … Continued

What Is Radiation Therapy?

Along with chemotherapy and surgery, radiation therapy is one of the first lines of treatment for many cancers. But unlike other forms of therapy, radiation cannot be seen, felt, or heard during treatment, often making it difficult for patients to understand. Radiation works by creating breaks within the DNA of cancer cells, preventing them from … Continued

Tips for Preparing for Photopheresis

Photopheresis is a unique medical therapy that involves temporarily removing blood from a patient, mixing the blood with a medication, exposing the blood to ultraviolet (UV) light to activate the drug, and then reinfusing the blood into the patient. The technique is used to treat graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a common and potentially severe side effect … Continued

What Should You Look for in an Oncologist? [Infographic]

A cancer diagnosis means making many life-altering decisions, often in a matter of days. These include important choices about what kind of treatment you want and who you want to provide it. An oncologist, a doctor who specializes in cancer, manages your care and treatment from beginning to end. That means everything from explaining your … Continued

A New Approach to Understanding Breast Cancer Treatment Resistance

By Srivani Ravoori, PhD, American Association for Cancer Research This post first appeared on the Cancer Today website. In a study presented Dec. 7 at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, researchers conducted genomic analysis of estrogen receptor (ER)-positive metastatic breast cancer samples that had become resistant to therapies. They found multiple alterations that were not … Continued

What Is Adjuvant Therapy?

Adjuvant therapies are drug treatments that breast cancer patients receive after surgery to prevent cancer from returning. These treatments may include chemotherapy, anti-estrogen therapy, or anti-HER2 therapy. Watch More: Young and Strong Program Helps Young Women With Breast Cancer Life After Inflammatory Breast Cancer “This is now a widely established paradigm for the management of … Continued

The New Frontier: Improving Safety of Outpatient Care At Home

After Lacey Martin’s leukemia didn’t respond to initial rounds of chemotherapy and after she spent 10 weeks hospitalized for a stem cell transplant, the 11-year-old New Hampshire girl went home March 2 with an external line for medications that her mother would have to flush and clean twice a day. Lacey’s immune system and infection-fighting … Continued

What Is Combination Therapy?

Combination therapy, the use of more than one type of therapy in treating a patient, is a hallmark of cancer treatment. The complexity of the disease – its tendency to spread beyond its original site and become resistant to certain drugs, and its genetic diversity – underscores the need for a variety of approaches to … Continued

What Is a Reduced-Intensity Stem Cell Transplant?

A reduced-intensity stem cell transplant, also known as a ‘mini’ transplant, is a modified form of a procedure that replaces a patient’s blood-forming stem cells with those of a compatible donor. Mini-transplant patients receive lower doses of chemotherapy than are used in a full-intensity, or myeloablative, transplant, and, in general, receive no radiation therapy. The … Continued