Category Archives: treatments

How Does Chemotherapy Work?

More than half of all people with cancer will get chemotherapy – powerful drugs that kill cancer cells to cure the disease, slow its growth, or reduce its symptoms.
There are more than 100 different drugs used in chemotherapy, sometimes alone, but more often in combinations that have proven effective against specific types of cancer. Though traditionally given by injection or intravenous infusion, chemotherapy drugs are increasingly available as pills or liquids that patients can take at home (oral chemotherapy).
Oral chemotherapy pills
Administered prior to surgery, chemotherapy may make a tumor smaller and easier to remove. Chemotherapy is often given as an …

 

What’s New in Metastatic Breast Cancer Treatment and Research

Metastatic breast cancer (MBC), also known as stage IV breast cancer or advanced stage breast cancer, ultimately affects approximately 20-25 percent of all people with breast cancer. There is no cure for MBC, but new developments in treatment and research are helping patients live longer and experience a better quality of life.
“There are women who live with MBC for many years, often five, ten years or more,” says Eric Winer, MD, director of the Breast Oncology Program in the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber. “Although some women with metastatic breast cancer still face a shorter life …

 

Hitching a Ride

Will an emerging cancer therapy that links potent drugs to tumor-seekers take the place of standard chemotherapy?
by Elizabeth Dougherty

Eric Winer, MD (left), has been leading clinical trials at DF/BWCC focusing on the antibody-drug conjugate T-DM1.

Sarah Merchant was working as a Web designer in Boston when, at age 28, she was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. Surgery, radiation, and a series of chemotherapy regimens followed, as did nerve damage, hair loss, and a general decline in her health.
Then Merchant heard about T-DM1, a trial drug promising the effectiveness of chemotherapy without the toxicity. “I wanted to get into that …

 

A Message from Peter- THE CANCER IS BACK

Since today is Memorial Day and we celebrate those who have served our country, I have chosen today to share this message from our friend Peter Devereaux.  Peter served our country and was based at Camp Lejeune. He is one of the many men based at Camp Lejeune who developed male breast cancer.
A Message from Peter- THE CANCER IS BACK
May 2013
My treatment stopped working. My cancer had a chance to grow and get inflamed. We have already started a new treatment and they are hopeful for great results. These are the challenging times when my body is extremely sore with …

 

5 years ago

On January 11, 2008 is the day my hand bumped into my chest and noticed a lump. Followed by a visit to the PCP and then mammogram, ultrasound followed by a core biopsy. I had my surgery on the 28th of January. Chemotherapy started on the 27th of February. My cancer spread to my spine in April 2009. Five years to the day I had to switched to like my 7th or 8th treatment. It has been an unbelievable journey that I wish no one else to go on. I am so glad that I have so many great friends …

 

MALE BREAST CANCER

My name is Peter Devereaux; I live in the greater Boston area and have a wife and a 15 year old daughter. I am a 50-year old man Living with stage 4 Metastatic breast cancer.
Men do get breast cancer!! You just don’t hear about it often.
Just like women, men can get breast cancer. Men and women will have similar results if they are diagnosed at similar times and have the same type of cancer.
What happens often is most men have no idea they can get breast cancer, so they usually get diagnosed at later stages.
The first time I knew men …

 

Sexual Activity After Breast Cancer

I read a review of research published in Maturitas an international science journal dedicated to research about midlife health and beyond. The article focused on sexuality after breast cancer.
Summarizing the research findings in a sentence …women get little support to help them maintain intimacy while going through treatment or restoring intimacy after active treatment is over.
Sexuality remains the taboo subject.
The review, which analyzes studies from 1998 to 2010, concluded that the sexual needs of women with breast cancer are rarely addressed in a clinical setting. The reasons given vary; health professionals either don’t know how to, or don’t feel comfortable, …

 

Older Women and Aromatase Inhibitors

One of the studies presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Summit in 2011 dealt with the possible cause-effect relationship of severe side effects of aromatase inhibitors in older breast cancer survivors and why so many of these women stop taking these drugs that can help prevent a recurrence.
The study was of particular interest to me as I was put on Arimidex, an aromatase inhibitor, after my second breast cancer. Having been on tamoxifen for five years after my first cancer, I was prepared for side-effects, but didn’t expect them to be as severe as they were. Significant weight gain, …

 

U.S. News ranks Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center top cancer hospital in New England and fifth highest in the country

U.S. News & World Report‘s Best Hospitals guide has ranked Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center the top cancer center in New England and fifth overall in the country. The rankings are now available online at www.usnews.com/besthospitals.
The center is a collaboration of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital to provide comprehensive, specialized care for adults with cancer.
“The best cancer care comes from people who think about it intensely all the time,” said Edward J. Benz, Jr., MD, president of Dana-Farber. “At Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, it also comes from the combination of personalized, innovative care, deep experience, and …

 

The Road Less Traveled

Many of us travel a similar road once diagnosed with breast cancer…surgery, chemo, radiation and all that goes with it. Eventually we reach the end of active treatment.  For some of us the road has a different course… more aggressive  treatment, harder choices to make and active treatment that continues indefinitely.
For women diagnosed with rare and very aggressive cancers, women who test positive for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutation, women diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant and women whose first diagnosis is metastatic breast cancer, the  road is long and sometimes unending.
Women diagnosed with Paget’s Disease of the Nipple, …