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

The Latest on Dana-Farber AIDS/HIV Research

The development of antiviral drug “cocktails” for AIDS in the mid-1990s has saved and extended the lives of millions of people around the world, but much more work is needed before the disease is truly vanquished. Despite significant advances in treatment and expanded efforts to slow the spread of the disease, AIDS remains a global … Continued

Study Identifies Genes That Help Drive Growth in Melanoma Subtypes

Favoritism or impartiality? Do the four genomic subtypes of melanoma have a bias toward certain mutated genes and gene pathways, or do they welcome all mutations equally? Answering that question has been especially difficult because of cutaneous melanoma’s high mutation rate — the profusion of misspelled, severed, out-of-place, missing-in-action, or overabundant genes found in melanoma … Continued

Couple with Cancer Gets Strength From Each Other and Care Teams

Husband and wife Ken Deutsch and Amy Green like to say they’re now “chasing the tail” of the bell curve. They have each had to grapple with cancer, as well as multiple setbacks and even recurrences. However, thanks to the care they’ve received at Dana-Farber — along with the support they’ve had from each other … Continued

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Symptoms and Signs

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) refers to cancer of lymphocytes, which are type of white blood cell and part of the immune system. NHL can occur at any age and is often marked by symptoms including enlarged lymph nodes, fever, and weight loss. It is one of the most common cancers in the United States, accounting for about … Continued

How to Approach the Holiday Season Amidst COVID-19

The upcoming holiday season is going to look a lot different from years past. Large family gatherings should be exchanged for more intimate settings; experts recommend only celebrating with members of your household, as anything beyond that increases risk of COVID-19. (Household members are anyone you live with, whether you are related to them or … Continued

Drugs Targeting a Pathway in Glioblastoma Must Clear a High Bar, Study Suggests

Researchers had every reason to expect that a compound called BKM120 (also known as buparlisib) would stifle glioblastoma brain tumors lacking the protein PTEN. After all, it was known to block the tumor-promoting PI3K protein and could easily pass through the blood-brain barrier — the dense layer of cells that guards entry to the brain … Continued

What are Telomeres and How Do They Play a Role in Cancer?

Often likened to the plastic tips on shoelaces that prevent their unraveling, telomeres are molecular structures that cap the ends of chromosomes in cells and protect their DNA from damage. Chromosomes are the rod-like structures that contain the genes and other DNA in cells. Telomeres gradually shorten every time a cell divides, however, resulting in … Continued