Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 3, 2016
Breast cancer management today often incorporates a “less is more” approach.
Current trends in breast cancer management incorporate a “less is more” approach in many cases. This includes surgical treatment for breast cancer.
“We are finding that we can perform less extensive surgery and offer easier approaches for many patients with breast cancer, while still achieving excellent outcomes,” says Dr. Tari A. King, Chief of Breast Surgery and a member of the Breast Oncology Center at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.
Previous surgical treatment plans, for example, included full lymph node surgery for the presence of any cancer in the lymph nodes located under the arm. This can result in long-term arm swelling, a condition known as lymphedema. Recent studies have shown that, in patients with a limited amount of cancer in the lymph nodes (cancer in one or two nodes), it is not necessary to remove all of the remaining nodes. The lymph nodes can remain in place and the cancer can be successfully treated with other modalities, such as medical and radiation therapies.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 28, 2016
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and the most common of all cancers among 25- to 29-year-olds in the U.S. The American Academy of Dermatology designates the first Monday in May as Melanoma Monday®, a day to focus on raising awareness about this dangerous disease and other types of skin cancer.
Sun Safety – Reducing Your Melanoma Risk
Reducing your exposure to ultraviolet rays, from sunlight and artificial light, is one of the most significant ways to reduce your risk of developing melanoma. Although it isn’t summer yet, the effects of the sun now are similar to that of a mid-August day. Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) dermatologist Dr. Deborah Scott offers some tips to help you stay safe in the sun.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital March 31, 2016
Patients and caregivers should weigh the expected benefits with the potential risks of a contralateral (double) prophylactic mastectomy.
A recent Brigham and Women’s (BWH) study reveals that from 2002 to 2012, the number of women choosing to have both of their breasts removed as a strategy to prevent the recurrence of breast cancer – a procedure known as contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) – tripled in the U.S., but without a corresponding improvement in survival. Researchers note that while CPM may have a survival benefit for patients that are at high risk of developing breast cancer, such as those with a genetic mutation, the majority of women undergoing CPM are at low risk for developing breast cancer in the unaffected breast.
“Our analysis highlights the sustained, sharp rise in popularity of CPM, while contributing to the mounting evidence that this more extensive surgery offers no significant survival benefit to women with a first diagnosis of breast cancer,” says senior author Dr. Mehra Golshan, Distinguished Chair in Surgical Oncology at BWH. “Patients and caregivers should weigh the expected benefits with the potential risks of CPM, including prolonged recovery time, increased risk of operative complications, cost, the possible need for repeat surgery, and effects on self image.”
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital March 17, 2016
The likelihood of a patient getting a PSA test for the early detection of prostate cancer may depend on the type of physician he sees.
Recent research led by Brigham and Women’s Hospital suggests that the likelihood of a patient getting prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing for the early detection of prostate cancer depends on the type of physician he sees.
In October 2011, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued a recommendation against the use of PSA testing for prostate cancer screening for all men. In its assessment, the task force concluded that, overall, the harms of PSA testing outweigh its benefits. The study authors, however, hypothesized that adoption of the USPSTF recommendation would vary according to a physician’s specialty.
The researchers examined PSA testing use among primary care physicians (PCPs) and urologists in the year immediately before the recommendation was issued and the year immediately afterward. To focus on preventive care visits, men previously diagnosed with prostate cancer, an elevated PSA level, or other prostate conditions were excluded from the study.
The study found that PSA testing for men aged 50-74 years decreased significantly from 36.5 percent in 2010 to 16.4 percent in 2012 among PCPs. However, during those same years, such testing among urologists only decreased from 38.7 percent to 34.5 percent.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital March 8, 2016
Dr. Jeffrey Meyerhardt
While one of the most common cancers in both men and women, colorectal cancer remains a very preventable disease, says Jeffrey Meyerhardt, MD, MPH, Clinical Director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC).
“Most of these cancers develop over a period of years,” says Dr. Meyerhardt. “While not preventable in everyone, the earlier you detect the disease, the more curable it is.”
Below are some tips from Dr. Meyerhardt on ways to reduce your risk.
Live a healthy lifestyle.
“There are various dietary factors that play a role in colorectal cancer,” explains Dr. Meyerhardt. “The one that’s the most consistently shown in studies is red and processed meat.” To lower your risk, Dr. Meyerhardt recommends eating fewer than two servings of red or processed meat per week. This includes foods such as steak, hamburgers, and hot dogs.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital December 23, 2015
The names of two dozen pediatric cancer patients from Boston hospitals have been spray-painted on a construction beam that will soon support a new cafeteria at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Tucked away on Shattuck Street, facing the windows of Boston Children’s Hospital, the names “Brooklyn,” “Nicholas,” “Kevin,” and many others are spray-painted in bright orange, light blue, pink, and white on a steel beam that will support the new cafeteria at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), which is undergoing renovation.
The two dozen names belong to pediatric patients from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Department of Radiation Oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, including 5-year-old Brooklyn, who was the first patient to have her name spray-painted on the 63-ton beam. After seeing a Facebook post written by Brooklyn’s mother, a family friend working on the construction site was inspired to begin spray-painting the children’s names.
“Seeing Brooklyn’s name on that steel beam is a feeling I will never forget,” says Kerrin Dooley, Brooklyn’s mother. “To me, the beam is a symbol of community, caring, support, strength, and teamwork – all critical aspects in the fight against cancer.”
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital December 10, 2015
Recent research says that eating processed meat products, such as hot dogs and bacon, can increase a person’s risk for colorectal cancer.
Eating processed meat products can increase a person’s risk for colorectal cancer, according to a report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO). Processed meat is classified as meat that has been salted, cured, fermented, or smoked to add flavor or preserve the meat. These meats include ham, bacon, sausages, corned beef, hot dogs, canned meat, and beef jerky.
In its findings, the IARC also determined that red meat is “probably carcinogenic to humans,” based on “limited evidence.” Red meat consumption was mainly linked to an increased risk for colorectal cancer, but it also had associations with pancreatic cancer or prostate cancer. Red meat includes beef, veal, pork, mutton, lamb, or goat.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 20, 2015
Stop by Brigham and Women’s/Mass General Health Center, next to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, before or after your mammogram to view pink gear worn by members of the New England Patriots.
If you’ve watched a professional football game over the last few weeks, you’ve probably noticed players sporting pink socks, wristbands, and other items of pink clothing.
Throughout October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, NFL players, coaches, and referees are wearing pink game apparel to remind women and their loved ones about the importance of regular breast cancer screening via mammography. Early detection of breast cancer improves a woman’s treatment outcomes.
Screening mammography is indicated for a woman who has no symptoms, such as a mass in the breast or nipple discharge. The American College of Radiology recommends that asymptomatic women begin screening mammography beginning at age 40, with yearly examinations recommended thereafter.
Digital 3-D mammography, a new advanced imaging technology for detecting breast cancer, offers a clearer, more complete three-dimensional view of a woman’s breast tissue compared with traditional mammography, which creates two-dimensional images. This technology enables radiologists to see tumors when they are very small and differentiate them from abnormalities that look like tumors, but are often overlapping breast tissue. When radiologists are able to identify malignant tumors at an early stage, it usually means that the cancer has been found before it has spread to other parts of the body. Read More »
Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 13, 2015
BWH plastic surgeons are offering new breast reconstruction options that use a patient’s own thigh tissue.
Plastic surgeons at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) are now offering women several new options for natural breast reconstruction after a mastectomy.
These new autologous (own tissue) procedures – PAP (profunda artery perforator), TUG (transverse upper gracilis), and DUG (diagonal upper gracilis) flap reconstruction – are typically reserved for patients who do not have enough tissue in their abdomen for reconstruction or who have already had abdominal surgery. Each option involves taking a complete flap of tissue – including skin, fat, and its accompanying blood supply – from the patient’s own leg and transferring it to the chest to create a new breast.
Women are increasingly turning to these and other types of autologous reconstruction as alternatives to reconstruction with artificial implants. Chief among the reasons for this trend is that flap procedures give women the opportunity to have a reconstructed breast with a natural look and feel that lasts. Because they’re biologic, soft tissue reconstructions evolve with the patient. As a woman loses weight, gains weight, or ages, the reconstructed breast tends to respond in proportion to the rest of the body.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital September 10, 2015
Dr. Thomas Clancy, surgical oncologist
Cancers of the pancreas and biliary tract are often difficult to diagnose and treat, as there are no established screening tests and often no early warning signs. Because these cancers tend to present when they are more advanced, avoiding delays in initiating treatment is important.
The Pancreas and Biliary Tumor Center at Dana-Farber/ Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center was created to bring together providers from multiple specialties to provide coordinated and timely care for patients with cancers of the pancreas and biliary tract. The Center also provides care for patients with premalignant lesions of the pancreas and biliary tract. These are tumors or masses that are not yet cancers, but may require surgery or careful monitoring.
In this video, Thomas E. Clancy, MD, FACS, Surgical Oncology, and Brian M. Wolpin, MD, MPH, Medical Oncology, review current treatment approaches for patients with pancreatic and biliary cancers and discuss research on new methods to improve diagnosis and treatment of these cancers.
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