Transforming End of Life Care through Communication

Justin Sanders’ path to Dana-Farber’s Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care department has meandered across the world. He grew up in Utah, studied art history in Pennsylvania, medicine in Vermont, and, as a Fulbright scholar, medical anthropology in London before he trained and worked as a family doctor in the Bronx and then as a hospitalist … Read more

Tips for Starting Difficult Conversations with Your Care Team

By James Tulsky, MD James Tulsky, MD, is chair of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care at Dana-Farber, with a longstanding research interest in clinician-patient communication and quality of life for patients with serious illnesses. He is also founding director of VitalTalk, a non-profit with a mission to nurture healthier connections between clinicians and patients through … Read more

Coping with a Pediatric Brain Tumor Diagnosis: Tips for Families

Childhood cancer is never easy for a family, and pediatric brain tumors can present a particularly difficult set of medical, cognitive, and physical challenges. Patients may face hearing and vision loss, seizures, learning disabilities, and more. Long after the disease is gone, these issues – and related emotional and social struggles – often remain. It … Read more

Young Neuroblastoma Patient and Family Make New Home at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s

Bridgette West sparkled last fall in the “Fight Song” music video created by patients at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. But before the 2-year-old became a social media standout with her dancing, she and her family faced challenges that went far beyond a cancer diagnosis. In the summer of 2015, after struggling for … Read more

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 … Read more

A Better Way to Care for Seriously Ill Children and Their Families

This post originally appeared on WBUR’s Cognoscenti blog.  By Joanne Wolfe, MD, MPH How is it that, in this day and age, a talented teenager treated for lymphoma emerges cured but with a life-threatening eating disorder? How is it that, in our nation’s capital, a boy dying at home from neuroblastoma experiences excruciating pain in his final moments? … Read more

‘Chemobrain’ Added to Cancer Survivorship Guidelines

Cognitive dysfunction is a common and frustrating side effect for many patients who undergo chemotherapy. The condition – also called “chemobrain” – can create problems with memory, attention and concentration, information processing, and mental skills used for organizing and scheduling. For many years, medical professionals were skeptical that these cognitive issues were a real side effect of … Read more