Breaking the Binary: Building Transvisibility in Cancer Genetic Counseling

This article was written by Donna Vatnick, BS, clinical research coordinator in Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention. Historically, cancer risk has been confined to the binary: male versus female. After the discovery of BRCA1 and BRCA2 in the mid-90s, testing of these genes was most often recommended to women. The substantially … Continued

Patient, Now Cancer-Free, Forms Lifelong Friendship with Doctor

It’s impossible not to notice the connection between Crista Cardillo and Kim Stegmaier, MD. The way they laugh and swap stories might make you think they grew up down the street from one another. But their friendship began differently than most: as patient and oncologist at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. When Cardillo … Continued

How Do PARP Inhibitors Work In Cancer?

PARPs (or Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerases) are proteins that play an important role in the life of a cell. When a strand of the DNA double helix is broken or damaged, PARPs act as a repair crew to help fix the damaged site, allowing the cell to live. PARPs are particularly important when another repair crew (which … Continued

What is Strength Training and Can It Help Cancer Patients?

Strength training is a type of exercise in which one uses resistance to force the muscles to contract to build strength. Resistance for strengthening can come from a person’s own body weight or from gym equipment. We spoke to Nancy Campbell, MS, an exercise physiologist at Dana-Farber’s Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies, who … Continued

If a Testicle Lump Is Painful, Is it Testicular Cancer?

Men who notice a testicle lump, heaviness, or pain in the testicle are often not convinced to see a doctor until a partner insists, but men should take note of changes in the testicles, according to Mark Pomerantz, MD, a medical oncologist in the Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center. “Unlike with breast … Continued

Transplant Program Milestone is Patient’s First Step in Returning to the Dance Floor

The first time Bill Cronin Googled his own cancer diagnosis in 2016, his heart sank. He had Sézary syndrome, a rare and aggressive form of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma  — and staring back at him were countless articles predicting a negative prognosis. However, after receiving a stem-cell transplant at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, Cronin is … Continued

Lactose Intolerance and Colorectal Cancer: What’s the Connection?

A number of research studies suggest that people who consume a lot of milk and other dairy products have a somewhat lower risk of developing colon cancer than those who don’t. But many people avoid or minimize dairy consumption because they are “lactose intolerant,” meaning they have difficulty digesting lactose — a sugar found in … Continued

After Aggressive Wilms Tumor Treatment, Eva is Back to ‘Life as Usual’

This post originally appeared on Discoveries, the blog of Boston Children’s Hospital. Eva Quiroz loves horses. The 10 year old takes riding lessons, and this activity puts a smile on her face. Anyone watching her contentedly guiding a horse around the ring would just assume she has always been a healthy child, says her mom … Continued

Is a Lump on My Neck a Sign of Cancer?

Lymph nodes are key components of the body’s immune system. These small, bean-shaped capsules are located throughout the body and are responsible for filtering lymph fluid and removing harmful substances. They also contain immune cells, which help fight infections by attacking germs and bacteria carried through this fluid. Typically, lymph nodes are soft and undetectable. However, … Continued

Does Talcum Powder Cause Ovarian Cancer? Here’s The Latest

It’s been suggested that regular use of talcum powder products in the genital area might increase the possibility of ovarian cancer. In theory, particles of talc could travel through the reproductive tract to the ovaries and cause cancer. Research on this potential link has yielded mixed findings, with some studies finding a small increase in risk. … Continued

Should I Be Screened for Pancreatic Cancer?

While screening for pancreatic cancer is not recommended for people at average risk of the disease, screening is recommended for those who carry an inherited genetic mutation associated with pancreatic cancer or have a family history of the disease. (Mutations are abnormal stretches of DNA that alter how cells grow and divide.) People with an … Continued

What Is Biliary Cancer?

Biliary cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the bile duct system, which connects the liver, gallbladder, and small intestine, moving bile — a fluid that helps digest fats — to the small intestine. While relatively uncommon, approximately 15,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with this disease each year. To further … Continued

What Is Brain Metastasis and How Is It Treated?

Medically reviewed by Nancy U. Lin, MD When cells from a breast tumor metastasize — spread through the circulation to other tissues and organs — they can migrate to the brain and form secondary tumors, termed metastases (or “mets”) there. This is especially true of the more aggressive breast cancer types. “As many as half … Continued

Tips for Recovering from a Hysterectomy

Medically reviewed by Ross S. Berkowitz, MD Hysterectomy, the surgical removal of the uterus, may be used to treat a variety of gynecologic cancers, including endometrial (uterine), ovarian, or cervical, or gestational trophoblastic  disease. Like any major surgery, recovering from a hysterectomy, which may also include removal of the ovaries, cervix, and fallopian tubes, takes … Continued

Patient and Author with Multiple Myeloma is Writing His Own Next Chapter

For many years, Thomas Palayoor and his wife, Sanjeewani, were engaged in cancer research in India. Inspired by the revolutionary advances being made in the biomedical field in the United States, they decided to move to the U.S. in 1978. Working at the medical schools of Ohio State University and Yale University, Palayoor branched off … Continued

New Drug Regimen Proves Ideal for Patient with Rare Genetic Disease

In golf, the best shot isn’t always the one that goes the furthest. Sometimes, a golfer should “lay up,” or play conservatively. Exchanging power for precision and avoiding potential hazards can set them up for what’s next. Avid golfer Evan Cornelius, 20, understands this better than most. So when it came time for him to … Continued

Immunotherapy for Blood Cancers: What’s New?

Immunotherapy for cancer has made some of its biggest inroads against hematologic malignancies such as leukemia and lymphoma, with treatments such as checkpoint inhibitors and CAR T-cell therapies producing long-lasting remissions in some patients. But there’s broad agreement that the potential of such therapies has only begun to be tapped and that combining immunotherapy drugs … Continued

Approval of First ‘Epigenetic’ Drug for a Solid Tumor is Milestone

The approval of the drug tazemetostat to treat epithelioid sarcomas is a victory for patients and a vindication of the idea that success may take different forms in different cancers. It’s also an affirmation of the value of research at Dana-Farber that began in the early 2000s with basic science discoveries and progressed into clinical … Continued

Do Hair Dyes and Straighteners Cause Cancer?

Medially reviewed by Wendy Chen, MD, MPH In 2019, the International Journal of Cancer published a study concluding that women — especially black women — who use either permanent hair dye or chemical straighteners are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. But more work still needs to be done before researchers can confidently … Continued