First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Beats Back Notorious Brain Tumor

Kristina Johnson is a recent college graduate with a major in psychology who is working part-time while she looks for the right job. In her spare time, she likes spending time with friends and family and working out at the gym. Her life may sound like that of an average 25-year-old, but in one important … Continued

Breast Cancer Risk Factors: Tips for Sorting Fact From Fiction

Media reports on the effect of diet and physical activity on breast cancer risk can be head-spinning. One report may suggest that eating a particular food—broccoli, for example—can help prevent breast cancer. Another may conclude that a substance within that same food actually promotes the disease. How can you sort out the often conflicting and … Continued

Common Questions About Alternative and Integrative Therapies, Answered [Podcast]

The search for new and better cancer treatments has resulted in some incredible discoveries in recent years. Immunotherapy, a kind of cancer therapy that harnesses the immune system to fight cancer, has monumentally changed the way that some cancers are treated. Chemotherapy and radiation have greatly improved. And researchers are working on bringing more treatment … Continued

How to Tell Someone You Have Cancer

Telling someone you have cancer can be difficult. There will never be a perfect time to share this news, and often, people worry this information will place a burden on those closest to them. These barriers—difficulty, timing, and guilt—may sway people to avoid the topic entirely, and instead try to deal with a cancer diagnosis … Continued

How Does Chemotherapy Affect Cancer Cells?

Chemotherapy agents can be divided into three major classes, based on the manner in which they act on cancer cells: Drugs that are active against dividing cells by targeting a specific phase of the cell cycle—the process by which cells duplicate their DNA and separate into two daughter cells. Drugs that are active against dividing … Continued

Now in Remission, Pediatric Cancer Patient is Inspiration for Her Family

Kids often rely on their parents for inspiration, but for Kevin and Becky McAvoy, it’s their five-year-old daughter Avery who provides the spark. Avery was less than a year old when she was diagnosed with metastatic neuroblastoma, the most common type of cancer in infants. Her cancer contained an anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) mutation. The … Continued

How to Address Nausea and Decreased Appetite During Cancer Treatment

For many patients, cancer treatment can result in nausea, vomiting, and a decreased appetite. This can make it difficult to eat well, stay hydrated, and maintain a healthy weight – all of which are key factors in helping patients feel stronger and tolerate treatments better. Here are some ways to manage these side effects. Plan … Continued

What Causes Cancer to Spread?

When cancer spreads in the body, it is first and foremost due to changes, or mutations, in the DNA of cells. Because of a mutation or other abnormality in a cancer cell’s genome (the DNA stored in its nucleus), the cell may become separated from its neighbors and invade surrounding tissue. Other genomic breakdowns allow … Continued

5 Tips for Reducing Scanxiety

Irritability, sweaty palms, increased heart rate, and nausea are common symptoms many patients experience when preparing for an upcoming exam. This feeling of apprehension and discomfort is called scanxiety, which aptly refers to the anxiety or worry patients often feel before undergoing a scan or receiving the results of an examination. “Anxiety often comes when … Continued

What is a Balanced Diet?

A balanced diet promotes health and wellness in everyone, including people with cancer. By properly balancing your plate and adopting (or dropping) certain eating habits, you’ll be ensuring that your body is getting the nutrition that it needs to function well. An accurately balanced plate of food will consist of 50 percent fruits and vegetables, 25 … Continued

Parents of Two-Year-Old Hepatoblastoma Survivor Enjoying Every Milestone

Steph and Jake Holbrook know the date of every important moment in their son’s life: William’s first steps, his first words, and even his first Boston Red Sox game. Another date they’ll forever remember: Jan. 17, 2018, when they were told that William—then 10 months old—had a rare type of liver cancer. “I couldn’t believe … Continued

Chemotherapy Myths and Misconceptions [Podcast]

Chemotherapy has long been a mainstay of cancer treatment. But a lot has changed since Sidney Farber, MD, the founder of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, achieved the first remissions for pediatric leukemia using chemotherapy in the 1940s. Today, in the era of precision cancer medicine, there are newer treatments and chemotherapy that can more specifically target … Continued

What is Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy has been traditionally used as an “adjuvant” treatment in many patients with cancer—administered after surgery to kill microscopic tumor cells that remain in the body after surgical removal of the tumor. More recently, it has also come to be used in a “neoadjuvant” setting—to shrink tumors before they are surgically removed. In some cases, … Continued

Researchers Making Headway on Treatment for Rare Blood Cancer

It began with some skin spots on his back and a lump on his knee that he thought was just a bruise from a golfing injury. After a series of exams and a biopsy, David Tracy, 74, of Waterford, Conn., finally learned he had a very rare and puzzling blood cancer that didn’t even have … Continued

Can Immunotherapy be Combined with Chemotherapy to Fight Cancer?

Immunotherapy drugs can be more effective against cancer when combined with other therapies, such as radiation therapy, targeted drugs, or other immunotherapy agents. Clinical trials that are currently underway are testing such combinations in a variety of cancers. It might seem that immunotherapy and chemotherapy make an unpromising pair. Chemotherapy, after all, is known to … Continued

Tips for Coping with Breast Cancer as an Older Woman

Like many forms of cancer, the risk of developing breast cancer increases with age: 30 percent of breast cancer patients in the United States are age 70 or older. For many older patients, the issues and challenges associated with the disease are quite different from those that arise in younger women. Older women are more … Continued

Multiple Myeloma Patient Committed to Persevering

Russ Horn went to work every day as a firefighter for almost 30 years. But now he has a new job—one that takes the same courage, hard work, and perseverance required in his last role. In 2014, Horn, then 50, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma—a cancer of plasma cells—after a minor slip at work sent … Continued

Using Music to Cope with Cancer: 5 Patient Stories

There is evidence that music can be a powerful therapeutic tool: it has been shown to bring about positive changes in mood and reduce anxiety, among other benefits. For cancer patients, music and music therapy—the clinical use of music as a tool to help achieve treatment goals—can also be used to develop positive coping skills … Continued

Patient Spreads the Word on Breast Cancer: Never Ignore the Signs

Kaitlyn Zonfrelli thought she was too young to have breast cancer, even though she showed a common sign of the disease. Now that she’s in treatment, she wants to spread the word: don’t ignore the signs, no matter what. Two years ago, when she was 26, Zonfrelli felt a lump on her breast during a … Continued

Glioblastoma Survivor is Thriving Seven Years After Diagnosis

Charlie Benoit was told that he had a long road ahead of him when he was diagnosed with glioblastoma in 2011. More than seven years later, he’s still doing well—and by studying patients like Benoit, researchers hope to help other patients with this incurable form of brain cancer. In 2011, Benoit, then 48, was getting … Continued