The Color of Cancer: The Importance of Advocating for Health Equity

Although disparities in the treatment of cancer and other diseases have been an endemic part of the American healthcare system, it took a pandemic to expose how pervasive they are. The high rates of COVID-19 in many communities of color drew attention to the broader health inequities affecting these groups. In recognition of Minority Cancer … Continued

Challenges of Navigating Cancer as a Member of the LGBTQ+ Community

LGBTQ+ individuals can face a host of challenges in their day-to-day lives, including discrimination, hostile words and actions, and ignorance. When it comes to cancer, LGBTQ+ people often come up against additional hurdles that are not faced by those who are cisgender (meaning those who identify with their sex assigned at birth) and/or heterosexual. The … Continued

Looking for Cancer’s Achilles Heel: The Pediatric Cancer Dependency Map

Thanks to developments in precision medicine, some adult cancers are now treated with designer drugs that target the genetic mutations that caused them. But most children with cancer have not reaped the same benefits. Unlike adult cancers, childhood cancers carry few genetic mutations. And the mutations these tumors do have are typically harder to make … Continued

What is Paget Disease of the Breast?

Paget disease of the breast occurs when cancer cells within the breast grow along the sides of the milk ducts and exit onto the skin of the nipple and surrounding circle of skin called the areola. It can arise at any age associated with breast cancer and usually involves a single breast. Although the hallmarks … Continued

How Much Radiation Do Breast Cancer Patients Need?

Radiation therapy is one of the pillars of breast cancer treatment and may be used at any stage of the disease. It is primarily used in one of two ways: to decrease the chance of the cancer recurring following surgery, or to palliate symptoms of metastatic disease. What is radiation therapy? Radiation consists of beams of … Continued

Cancer Care in Transgender Youth Patients: Things to Consider

Increasingly, transgender youth and adults are undergoing (or planning) gender-affirming surgery and taking masculinizing or feminizing hormones. If they have cancer, these treatments can have implications for their care, and cancer treatments in turn can have implications for their gender-affirming care. Oncologists should take gender identity into account in making decisions about cancer treatment. This … Continued

Immunotherapy for Ovarian Cancer: What’s New?

By Ursula Matulonis, MD, Director, Gynecologic Oncology, Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber Immunotherapy, which has revolutionized the treatment of many types of cancer, is undergoing extensive study in patients with ovarian cancer. Although much of this research is in the early stages, it has produced some intriguing findings about the promise … Continued

Bispecific Antibodies: How Can They Treat Cancer?

Many of the drugs that have become mainstays of cancer treatment are based on antibodies — artificial proteins that latch onto a molecular target called an antigen. When an antibody binds to an antigen on a cancer cell, it attacks the cell or triggers its destruction by immune system process. A relatively new twist on … Continued

What are TILs and How Are They Used in Cancer Treatment?

A form of immune cell therapy for cancer known as tumor infiltrating lymphocyte, or TIL, therapy, involves removing immune T cells from a piece of the patient’s tumor — where the T cells have succeeded in recognizing the cancer — expanding them outside the body, and re-infusing them by the billions to fight the disease. … Continued

Young Father Gets the Cancer Treatment He Needs During COVID-19

Chris Devin never expected to be diagnosed with multiple myeloma at the age of 45 — and being told he had cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic was far from ideal.  But Devin quickly learned that he could rely on his team at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) for the best treatment options. While COVID-19 … Continued

EGFR-Mutant Lung Cancer: What You Need to Know

While most lung cancers are linked to tobacco smoking, a minority — about 15 percent in the United States — of non-small cell lung cancers are driven by a random mutation in a gene called EGFR, which helps cells grow and divide. What is EGFR-mutant lung cancer? A mutation in the gene EGFR, which stands … Continued

What is Osteosarcoma and How Is It Treated?

Researchers at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center are leading a number of studies in osteosarcoma, a type of cancer that starts in the bones.

How Treatment Works for CAR T-Cell Therapy Patients

CAR T-cell therapy is a form of immunotherapy that uses specially modified T cells – part of the body’s defense system against disease – to attack cancer. As of March 2021, CAR T-cell therapy has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as standard therapy for: Some adult patients with aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma that has … Continued

What’s Next in CAR T-Cell Therapy?

CAR T-cell therapy—a form of immunotherapy that uses genetically engineered T cells to intensify the immune system’s response to cancer—represents one of the biggest advances against cancer in recent years.

What is CAR T-Cell Therapy and How Does It Work?

CAR T-cell therapy is a kind of cellular therapy, which uses a patient’s own immune system cells to rally an attack on cancer. They’re made by removing a specific set of cells from the blood, modifying them in a lab to intensify the immune system’s natural response to cancer, and re-injecting them into the patient. … Continued

What is Richter’s Syndrome and How is it Treated?

Richter’s syndrome involves the rapid transformation of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) into a significantly more aggressive form of lymphoma, usually diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), but occasionally Hodgkin lymphoma (HL). It arises in 2-10% of all patients with CLL and can occur at any time in the course of the disease. The goal of treatment … Continued

Metastatic Colon Cancer Patient Still Enjoying Each Special Moment

New England may be known for its harsh weather, but it’s never stopped Kyle Vinson from getting out and doing what he loves. An avid skier and golfer, the Massachusetts resident prides himself on once doing both in the same day. When he was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer in 2020, the 38-year-old had to … Continued

ER-Positive Breast Cancer: What’s the Latest in Treatment?

Harold J. Burstein, MD, PhD, physician-scientist in the Breast Oncology Program of the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers, provided an update on treatment of ER-positive breast cancer, including the roles of chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and ovarian suppression, in a recent New England Journal of Medicine article. What is ER-positive breast cancer? Of the … Continued