How Long Does Chemotherapy Stay in Your Body?

Chemotherapy agents are powerful drugs that are used to treat cancer throughout the body. Chemotherapy drugs work by a variety of different mechanisms, but their general effect is to slow or stop the growth of cancer cells, which divide and proliferate quickly. Chemotherapy is administrated with the intention of eliminating cancer cells so that the infected body can survive … Continued

What’s the Difference Between Melanoma and Skin Cancer?

Melanoma is not a different disease from skin cancer. It is, rather, a form of skin cancer. Of the three major forms of skin cancer, melanoma is the rarest but also the most aggressive. It is diagnosed in more than 96,000 people in the United States each year, and patients generally have a good prognosis … Continued

Greater Understanding of How Cells Access Their DNA May Aid Treatments

If you could somehow unroll the DNA from a single one of our cells, the tiny thread would stretch about two meters. Our cells do just the opposite, spooling their DNA astonishingly tightly around proteins, into packages known as nucleosomes. These packages, which together make up our chromatin, need to dynamically open and close at … Continued

Young Investigators Use Patient Samples for Cancer Studies

In their search for better treatments for breast, ovarian, and other cancers, young investigators Jennifer Guerriero, PhD, and Sarah Hill, MD, PhD, rely on a precious commodity — patient tissue samples obtained by surgeons in Dana-Farber’s Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers. Studies of these normal and cancerous tissues, which are collected, banked, and … Continued

Adult Leukemia: What You Need to Know

Medically reviewed by Richard M. Stone, MD More than 60,000 new cases of adult leukemia are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Although it is one of the more common childhood cancers, leukemia occurs more often in older adults. How does leukemia develop in adults? Leukemia is a cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues that results in large … Continued

Should I Take Aspirin to Prevent Cancer?

Medically reviewed by Jeffrey A. Meyerhardt, MD, MPH Aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is commonly used to reduce fevers and relieve mild to moderate pain deriving from muscle aches or strains, toothaches, headaches, and symptoms of the common cold. Research so far suggests that taking a small dose of daily aspirin over … Continued

Cancer and Oxygen: What’s the Connection?

Medically reviewed by William G. Kaelin, Jr., MD Normal human cells need just the right amount of oxygen — not too much nor too little — to survive and stay healthy. This critical balance is regulated by an intricate oxygen-sensing process in the body, the discovery of which earned the 2019 Nobel Prize in Medicine … Continued

Five Things You Need to Know About Barrett’s Esophagus

Medically reviewed by Peter C. Enzinger, MD Barrett’s esophagus is a complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, and can sometimes be a precursor for esophageal cancer. The condition occurs when the tissue lining the esophagus (the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach) begins to resemble tissue that lines the intestines … Continued

After Cancer Treatment, Former Ironman Participant Finds Strength Again

Consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run, an Ironman Triathlon is not for the faint of heart — and completing it is a feat worth celebrating. After conquering the race, Dan Luers believed he was ready for whatever life had in store. Nothing could have prepared him for a … Continued

What Are the Most Common Blood Cancers in Adults?

Medically reviewed by Ann S. LaCasce, MD, MMSc Non-Hodgkin lymphoma Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is a type of cancer that forms in the lymph system, part of the body’s immune system. There are many kinds of NHL that develop from various types of white blood cells, including B cells, T cells, and NK cells. The majority … Continued

Bone Cancer in Children: What are the Latest Treatment Options?

Medically reviewed by Katherine A. Janeway, MD Cancer affecting the bones may be primary (a cancer that develops within the bone) or metastatic (spreading to bones from elsewhere in the body). Many primary bone tumors are benign (noncancerous), but others are malignant. Treatment options for bone tumors include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, cryosurgery (freezing cancer … Continued

How Can I Tell the Difference Between Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Colorectal Cancer?

Medically reviewed by Jeffrey A. Meyerhardt, MD, MPH Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic disorder in which the large intestine undergoes abnormal contractions, producing abdominal pain, cramps, diarrhea, constipation, or a mix of these symptoms. (It is a different condition from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which most often occurs as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s … Continued

Nutrition Tips for Cancer Caregivers

Caregivers play a vital role in helping cancer patients face the daily challenges of their diagnosis. While everyone’s needs may vary, caregivers are often asked to assist a patient with their meals. This help comes in many forms, from preparing a single dish to grocery shopping. No matter what you’re asked to do, it’s important … Continued

New Drug Benefits Patients With Myeloma Who Are Resistant to All Therapies

Earlier this year, a novel drug became the first agent to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for patients with multiple myeloma who have exhausted all types of currently available therapies, including proteasome inhibitors, immunomodulatory drugs and monoclonal antibodies. A clinical trial found that 26.2 percent of such patients responded with significant shrinkage … Continued

Basic Research Spurs New Wave of Clinical Trials of Therapies for T-Cell Lymphoma

Medically reviewed by David M. Weinstock, MD, and Eric Jacobsen, MD By banding together to study the basic biology and vulnerabilities of T-cell lymphoma, scientists at several major cancer research centers have sparked a surge of clinical trials of promising treatments for the disease. The string of new trials, some already open, some expected to … Continued

From the Military to Improving the Future of Cancer Care

There was a time when Bradley McGregor, MD, had what many would consider an unusual morning routine for an oncologist. Getting ready for work included putting on nearly 60 pounds of body armor, donning a tactical helmet, and grabbing his assault rifle before heading out the door. His commute took him from an American compound, … Continued

Drug Shows Promise as First Definitive Treatment for Rare Anemia

Medically reviewed by Rachael Grace, MD In the mid-1960s, David G. Nathan, MD, president emeritus of Dana-Farber and, at that time, a hematologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, published some of the first reports on a rare, inherited type of anemia caused by the breakdown of red blood cells because of a lack of a key … Continued

Cancer and the Holidays: How to Cope and Celebrate

The holidays can be a festive time, but for people dealing with cancer, they can also be stressful and full of anxiety. For many patients and their families, the thought of preparing for the season may be met with mixed emotions. And while parties and gift-giving often go hand-in-hand with the holiday season, you might … Continued