Cancer Fails to Stop Dream of Motherhood

Monica Jones was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in 2015, at the same she was dealing with infertility issues. Thanks to one very special friend and support from the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber, Monica and her husband Matthew had the best possible outcome: Their daughter, Ella, now … Continued

What Parents Should Know About Genetic Cancer Risk

If your child could be at risk for cancer, the sooner you discover that risk, the more you can do to prevent cancer or catch it in an early stage. Not every child needs to be tested, so it’s important to learn what genetic testing is and whether it’s the right decision for you and … Continued

From Patient to Employee: A Return to Dana-Farber

No athlete welcomes an injury, but a simple scratch may have saved Rich Oakley’s life. Oakley was diagnosed with cancer in 2003, as a high school senior, after a scratch from a sports injury led to a swollen neck. When the swelling didn’t subside, Oakley’s mother brought him to the doctor for tests, which revealed … Continued

BRCA2 and Pancreatic Cancer: What’s the Connection?

Pancreatic cancer is notorious for being difficult to treat—and it is often not detected until it advances beyond the pancreas. While smoking and obesity are two established risk factors that impact this disease, another risk factor can be mutations in the BRCA2 gene, also associated with breast and ovarian cancer. Research studies have identified a … Continued

Grandfather is Active and Optimistic After Reduced-Intensity Stem Cell Transplant

Alan Dynner was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in 2016 at 76 years old. Treatment for the cancer would require a life-saving stem cell transplant, a procedure that most hospitals deemed too grueling for someone Dynner’s age. But thanks in large part to treatment options a short drive from his Boston home at Dana-Farber/Brigham … Continued

What is Genomic Testing?

Genomic testing, a newer field to genetics, refers to the process of observing an entire genome (genes that make up an organism) of an organism; for example, the human body. A person has about 25,000 different genes that are made up of about 3 billion DNA units. Genomic testing is different from genetic testing because it … Continued

Mother and Son Support Each Other Through Each Other’s Cancer

Anne Palmer never thought she’d face a tougher challenge than aggressive breast cancer. Then, shortly after finishing treatment, she learned her 25-year-old son, Kevin, had an inoperable brain tumor. The two diagnoses, which came in 2012 and 2014, allowed mother and son – who were already close – to bond even more deeply during their … Continued

For Grandmother, Rare Lymphoma Proves a Short Detour in an Active Life

Sandi and George Schussel first met on an airplane, beginning a 55-year journey that has taken them across the world, over oceans, into the mountains, and down countless paths. When Sandi learned she had a rare blood cancer known as angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma (AITL), the couple saw her diagnosis as another trail to travel. This … Continued

I Have BRCA1 or BRCA2. What Should I Do?

If you carry BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations, you may be at an increased risk for developing certain types of cancers—but it’s important to understand that cancer genetics are complex and other factors influence risk as well. Depending on certain factors like family history, it may be advisable to seek proper genetic counseling to be … Continued

Standard Therapy for Newly Diagnosed Ovarian Cancer Enters New Era

After seeing few updates for more than two decades, treatment options for ovarian cancer are beginning to expand rapidly. As doctors and scientists have learned more about the molecular forces at work in ovarian cancer, and about the immune system’s role in fighting the disease, several new therapies are being used, either as FDA-approved drugs … Continued

What is a Biomarker?

A biomarker—short for “biological marker”—is something that can be objectively measured and is a sign of a normal or abnormal process, or a condition or disease. A biomarker can be a molecule found in the blood or other body fluids or tissues. Another type of biomarker is a genetic signature or “fingerprint”—a pattern of activity … Continued

Three-Time Cancer Survivor Becomes Two-Time Marathon Runner

This was not how she expected her first marathon to go. 15.5 miles into the race, Mary Shertenlieb stood shivering in the lobby of a Dunkin’ Donuts. For hours, the three-time cancer survivor had been battling driving rains, punishing winds, and unrelenting cold weather in order to cross the finish line of the 2018 Boston … Continued

Detecting Cancer Early: What You Should Know [Podcast]

Cancer research is often geared toward finding new and effective treatments, but researchers are also constantly trying to pinpoint ways to find cancer in its early stages, when it is often more treatable and even curable. While it’s not always possible to find cancer before it arises, incredible advancements have been made in early detection … Continued

Breast Cancer Patient, Now Cancer-Free, Finds Strength Through Her Family

The drive from Plymouth, Massachusetts, to Raleigh, North Carolina, is about 750 miles. If you’re up for the drive, Jenn Anderson notes, plan on spending a lot of time on I-95 and consider extending the trip with a stopover in Delaware. It’s a familiar route for Anderson, who was planning to move south with her … Continued

What You Should Know About Alcohol Consumption and Personal Health

The link between alcohol consumption and personal health has long been a controversial subject. For several decades, research has found conflicting evidence regarding alcohol’s physical effects—often resulting in ever-changing headlines and diet trends. Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, a senior clinical nutritionist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, discusses the risks and benefits often associated with alcohol.    … Continued

Understanding Palliative Care for Cancer Patients

Palliative care is often misunderstood. Because hospice is a well-known form of palliative care, some patients may think the two are synonymous—and as a result, may initially feel resistant to palliative care, assuming they should seek this type of care only if their cancer has become terminal. Despite this stigma, patients at all stages of … Continued

‘Organoids’ Could Aid Cancer Drug Selection

Tests on living “organoids” created from patients’ ovarian cancer cells proved more accurate than DNA sequencing in predicting tumors’ sensitivity or resistance to chemotherapy drugs – and combining the two methods worked even better, say scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The investigators report in Cancer Discovery that ovarian cancer organoids – tiny, three-dimensional spheres of cells … Continued

For Patients with Rare Cancer, Tips on Finding Expert Treatment

Having a rare cancer can feel especially isolating. There are apt to be few physicians with experience treating that type of cancer and little research to guide patients. Opportunities to receive support from—and give support to—other patients with the same disease may also be scarce. But there are a variety of steps such patients and … Continued