What Are the Most Common Blood Cancers in Adults?

The most commonly diagnosed blood cancers are non-Hodgkin lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and multiple myeloma. Here’s what you need to know about each type of cancer. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is a type of cancer that forms in the lymph system, part of the body’s immune system. There … Read more

College Student Reconnects with the Oncologist Who Saved Her Life

This post originally appeared on Thriving, the Boston Children’s Hospital blog. Anna Protsiou was 5 when she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2002. She remembers pain, and fruit-scented anesthesia masks that led her to stop eating cherries. She also remembers hospital arts and crafts projects. What she barely remembers is the pediatric oncologist who saved … Read more

What Is Chronic GVHD and How Can I Manage It?

Chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a common and potentially life-threatening complication of stem cell transplants that use donor cells. It arises when the donor’s immune system cells treat the recipient’s body as foreign and raise an attack on certain organs and tissues, most often the skin, mouth, and eyes. The assault can interfere with organ … Read more

Battling Cancer: Restructuring and Enjoying Your New Life

By Rich Rothman In September 2013, I had a bone marrow transplant that doctors advised was the only potential cure for a blood cancer known as MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome). Although we lived in New York City, we chose to have the transplant done at Dana Farber because we were impressed with everything we saw and … Read more

He Lost His Sight to Cancer, But Not His Vision of a Full Life

When Tim Conners collected his wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation in 2012 at the age of 18, he was blind from childhood leukemia that had spread to his optic nerve. A football player and wrestler who’d never been an outdoorsman, he asked to meet Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind person to climb the Seven Summits … Read more

The Latest Advances Against Hematologic Cancers

Treatment of blood-related, or hematologic, cancers is seizing on insights into the basic genetic wiring of cancer cells and the body’s system for finding and attacking those cells. Research presentations at the annual American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting in December gave evidence of how broad, and rapid, the progress is. Targeted therapies, new combinations … Read more

Autologous vs. Allogenic Stem Cell Transplants: What’s the Difference?

A stem cell transplant is a procedure during which doctors either replace diseased or ineffective stem cells with healthy new stem cells or allow high-dose treatment for lymphoma, some testicular cancers, and other diseases. It is often lifesaving for patients with blood cancer and serious blood disorders. A person may need a transplant for a … Read more

Stem Cell Donor, Recipient Meet Up – Seven Years after Their Cells

Sometimes the best things are worth waiting for. Charles “Chuck” Vanada and Tobias Gillmann, connected across 3,700 miles and one life-altering procedure, can attest to that. In September 2009, Vanada – then a 48-year-old non-Hodgkin lymphoma patient – received a stem cell transplant at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC), thanks to Gillmann, 34, who six … Read more

Making the Best of Things In The Hospital

By Rich Rothman In 2013, I was facing a lengthy hospital stay after being diagnosed with a life-threatening blood cancer known as myelodysplastic syndromes (”MDS”). I had decided to proceed with a bone marrow transplant, which was thought to be the only potential cure. After being admitted to the hospital, I had intensive, round-the-clock chemotherapy … Read more

What is Haploidentical Stem Cell Transplantation?

Medically reviewed by Joseph H. Antin, MD A treatment for patients with blood-related cancers and certain blood disorders, stem cell transplantation involves replacing a patient’s unhealthy blood-forming cells with healthy ones. Patients are first treated with chemotherapy, and sometimes radiation therapy, to wipe out or diminish the bone marrow and lymph nodes where cancers such … Read more

Tips for Celebrating the Holidays after a Stem Cell Transplant

The holidays can be a happy time of family gatherings and traditions, but the combination of extended family and friends and cold and flu season can be dangerous for patients who are immunocomprised following recent stem cell transplants to treat blood cancers including multiple myeloma, leukemia, lymphoma, and related disorders. “When transplant patients leave the … Read more

What Is a Reduced-Intensity Stem Cell Transplant?

A reduced-intensity stem cell transplant, also known as a ‘mini’ transplant, is a modified form of a procedure that replaces a patient’s blood-forming stem cells with those of a compatible donor. Mini-transplant patients receive lower doses of chemotherapy than are used in a full-intensity, or myeloablative, transplant, and, in general, receive no radiation therapy. The … Read more

Daughter Donates Stem Cells to Honor Dad’s Successful Transplant

Lauren Marsden joined DKMS/Delete Blood Cancer Registry during freshman orientation at St. Anselm’s College for the same reason she majored in nursing: She wanted to help others. What she couldn’t foresee then was how this decision would intersect with her own family’s experience. Two months after Lauren’s graduation in May 2014, her father was diagnosed … Read more

Dana-Farber Staffer Marks Five Years Post-Transplant with Run of a Lifetime

Mary Taber’s marathon training requires a singular focus. It is demanding, solitary, life-affirming – not unlike her treatment five years ago for aplastic anemia and paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH). Taber, intranet editor at Dana-Farber, will mark five years from her March 2011 bone marrow transplant by taking to the storied Boston Marathon® route on April … Read more

FDA Approval of Defibrotide Brightens Outlook for Stem Cell Transplant Patients

Patients and Dana-Farber researchers alike welcomed this week’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of a new drug for a potentially fatal side effect of stem cell transplants. The approval means patients can receive the drug, defibrotide, as standard therapy for hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD) of the liver, a dangerous condition that sometimes follows transplantation … Read more