What’s the Difference Between Cancer Grade and Cancer Stage?

When solid tumors are diagnosed, they are often assigned a grade and a stage. Both factors are key considerations when physicians devise a treatment plan. Tumors are assigned a grade based on the appearance of their cells under a microscope: Low-grade tumor cells resemble normal cells more closely than high-grade tumor cells do. The grade … Read more

How Does Palliative Care Help Cancer Patients?

Cancer is a serious illness – at any stage – and patients often experience painful symptoms and side effects that can make treatment more difficult to tolerate, both physically and emotionally. Seeking assistance from palliative care professionals can help patients maintain quality of life throughout treatment. But what do palliative care clinicians do, and how … Read more

Cancer Survivors Offer Tips to New Patients Starting Treatment

Gaining the wisdom of another’s experience can be invaluable when facing something new – including cancer. Through the SoulMates program at Dana-Farber’s Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers, newly diagnosed breast cancer patients can be paired with trained volunteers who have already been through surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or other kinds of treatment. “Our volunteers … Read more

Facing Fertility Issues as a Pediatric Cancer Survivor

In her research studies with young adult survivors of childhood cancers, pediatric oncologist Natasha Frederick, MD, MPH, of Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, explored sexual dysfunction in survivors between the ages of 18 and 30 years old. She found that most of these young survivors reporting such problems keep their concerns from partners, loved ones, and caregivers, and … Read more

Who Are the Different Nurses on a Cancer Care Team?

Nurses play a critical role in caring for cancer patients. From administering therapies and managing side effects, to preparing patients and families for what to expect, they are often the providers who patients see the most. And because of the range of services they provide, there are often multiple nurses a patient will see throughout … Read more

A Day in the Life: Dana-Farber Social Workers

For clinical social workers Annette Quinn, MSW, LICSW, and Sara Nemitz, MSW, LICSW, each day is unique. Part of Dana-Farber’s department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, Quinn and Nemitz work closely with patients and their families to provide support during treatment, addressing the new anxieties and concerns many patients face after a cancer diagnosis. … Read more

Social Work Helps David Practice His Passion

Extreme stomach pains sent David Rubinstein to the emergency department in December 2011. After emergency surgery, he was diagnosed with stage IV carcinoid cancer, a rare gastrointestinal tumor – leaving him to grapple with the uncertainty of his future. “I live with the daily fear about what the future holds,” says Rubinstein, a professional musician … Read more

Gynecological Cancer Patients Find Safety, Solidarity in Support Group

Deb Petrishen says well-meaning but frustrating interactions can occur everywhere, from the grocery store to family functions. Although friends and loved ones are often sensitive and supportive, some may not know what to say to someone with stage III ovarian cancer, especially after two recurrences. Petrishen has just as much difficulty explaining her feelings. Except … Read more