Combination Immunotherapy Holds Promise for Patients with Rare Bladder Cancer

A woman recently came to Bradley McGregor, MD, an oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, in severe pain with extreme fatigue. Her squamous cell bladder cancer, a rare type for which traditional treatment is generally less effective, had advanced, and it appeared that she had no other options. But timing is everything. McGregor was conducting a … Continued

Vaccines for Cancer Patients and Survivors: What We Know

Are you up to date on your vaccines? It’s a seemingly simple question, but it is very important. Vaccines are one of the most convenient and safest preventative care measures available, and staying up to date on your vaccinations (such as the flu vaccine) helps prevent yourself from getting sick. There are many questions surrounding … Continued

Acute Leukemia Diagnosis: What to Know and Expect

Treatment for acute forms of adult leukemia has advanced markedly since the days when all patients generally received the same course of treatment. A patient’s age and overall health, the type of leukemia he or she has, and the goal of therapy all influence the treatment plan. What are the types of acute leukemia? There … Continued

CAR T-Cell Therapy Offers Lymphoma Patient Renewed Hope

Tiffany “Tiff” Trant couldn’t help but smile. All three of her children were home, and the family was deciding on dinner and a group activity. They thought about working on a puzzle, sitting down for their reoccurring poker game, or just spending the night talking. These simple pleasures have gained new meaning ever since Trant … Continued

What Does it Mean to be in Remission for Cancer?

What does it mean to be in remission?   Cancer is said to be in remission when the signs and symptoms of the disease have decreased or resolved. If the cancer is a solid mass — such as a tumor in the lung or breast — remission means the mass has shrunk. If it is … Continued

BPDCN: What’s the Latest in Treatment and Research?

What is BPDCN? Blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm (BPDCN) is a rare but aggressive blood cancer that can affect the skin, blood, and bone marrow. It has characteristics similar to leukemias and lymphomas, but almost always first appears as lesions in the skin. What are the treatment options for BPDCN? The first drug that was … Continued

Neuroblastoma Patient Exudes Untold Strength

Call it mother’s intuition, but leading up to her daughter’s cancer diagnosis, Erica Jensen knew something wasn’t right. At just 10 months, Charlee had started walking, and since taking her first steps the excited toddler was constantly exploring the world around her. Then, at around 15 months, something changed. It wasn’t obvious at first — … Continued

Getting a Second Opinion About Your Cancer Care

Following the sudden shock and abruptness of a cancer diagnosis, a person’s initial instinct may be to begin treatment right away. However, in some instances, it can be beneficial to get a second opinion first. These secondary consultations — which usually happen with an oncologist (or cancer doctor) at a different hospital than the one … Continued

With Help of Care Team, Patient Looks to Future During COVID-19

In 2018, Christine “Chris” Colpitt, 66, was feeling incredibly tired. The year didn’t start that way, but by May, Colpitt was finding it difficult to summon the strength to get out of her chair. Unsure of the root of her symptoms, her primary care physician asked her to come in for bloodwork. The results indicated … Continued

The Latest Efforts in Precision Oncology for Advanced Prostate Cancer

The management of advanced prostate cancer is rapidly evolving with the application of precision treatments based on genomic testing of tumors’ altered DNA. With recent biomarker-driven drug approvals and increased clinical use of genomic testing, there are a number of opportunities to expand upon this framework. Researchers are calling for increased collaboration and new strategies. … 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

What Are the Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer?

In its early stages, ovarian cancer can be hard to detect; symptoms can go unnoticed or may be attributed to other, more common health problems. However, symptoms do exist and can include: Shortness of breath Bloating Abdominal or pelvic pain Frequent urination Changes to bowel habits Feeling full quickly Menstrual changes Typically, symptoms worsen over … Continued

Can Endometrial Cancer Be Treated with Immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy, which boosts the patient’s immune system response against cancer, is an emerging area of treatment and research. The immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab (Keytruda) is approved to treat women whose endometrial cancer cells have certain characteristics. What type of endometrial cancer does immunotherapy work for? Pembrolizumab is effective in shrinking or slowing the growth of a … Continued

What Types of Cancer Can Be Treated With Immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy for cancer is a form of treatment that uses the body’s immune system to combat the disease. Today, immunotherapy is being applied to a wide range of cancers, often in combination with other agents, and clinical trials are exploring ways of improving and expanding its effectiveness. A particularly promising form of immunotherapy, known as … Continued

Immunocompromised: What Does it Mean?

Immunocompromised individuals are potentially at a higher risk for severe illness from the coronavirus, or COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We’re here to help — here is some general information about what it means to be immunocompromised, and how you can protect yourself. This information is specific to people … Continued

Liposarcoma: What Is It and How Is It Treated?

Cancers known as sarcomas develop in the connective tissues, such as muscle, fat, and bone, that hold the body together. Liposarcomas originate from immature fat cells that develop abnormally into cancerous fatty growth as a result of errors that can develop in its genes.   Sarcomas are rare, accounting for about 1% of cancers in … Continued

Lung Cancer Patient Draws on Unwavering Strength in the Face of Uncertainty

When looking for inspiration, Saila Hanninen needs only to glance at her left wrist. Tattooed there is the Finnish word “jaksaa” (pronounced YÄK SAH), roughly translating to “strength.” Jaksaa, however, is about more than just physical strength: It’s about fortitude, endurance, mental toughness, and a willingness to keep going when the odds are against you. … Continued

The Latest Advances in Ovarian Cancer Treatment

Although ovarian cancer is among the most difficult cancers to treat when not caught in its earliest stages, treatment advances are extending the lives, and improving the quality of life, of many patients. “Ovarian cancer research and treatment continue to grow. There are so many resources available and we are no longer committed to just … Continued

What You Should Know About Appendix Cancer

Appendix cancer, or appendiceal cancer, is an incredibly rare cancer, occurring in roughly one person out of every 100,000. Despite its rarity, appendiceal tumors come in a variety of forms and presents very differently from person to person. There are treatment options for appendiceal cancer, and it usually comes with a relatively good prognosis. Here, … Continued

Mother of Three and Patient with Lung Cancer Embraces Stability

It was an otherwise normal Saturday night for Amy Neary: She was on her way to a hockey game with her husband, their three kids, and a friend. Neary had had a minor headache earlier in the day, but a few Advil cleared that right up. Then, all of a sudden as they were driving, … Continued