Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 21, 2016
When choosing a location for your mammogram, it is important to look for a center that performs a high volume of mammograms and has radiologists who are dedicated to breast imaging.
Approximately one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer during her lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we are publishing a three-part Breast Imaging Series throughout October. Today’s post, the second in our series, discusses the importance of specialized training in reading mammograms.
When choosing a location for your mammogram, it is important to look for a center that performs a high volume of mammograms. Preferably, the radiologists in the center should be dedicated to breast imaging. Breast imaging specialists devote their time exclusively to breast imaging, including mammography, breast MRI, and breast ultrasound.
The detection of very subtle changes in early breast cancer can be very challenging. Studies have shown that radiologists specializing in breast imaging outperform non-specialist radiologists in detecting breast cancer. Furthermore, the more mammograms and other breast images that radiologists read, the better they become at identifying these subtle changes, with higher accuracy. Read More »
Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 18, 2016
Stem cell transplantation has grown among older patients largely due to the development of reduced-intensity transplants.
Stem cell transplantation following chemotherapy can extend survival and potentially cure certain advanced cancers. Although these demanding procedures were once considered too risky for older patients, advances in transplant methods are challenging that assumption.
“In transplants involving donor cells, there was concern that older patients wouldn’t be able to tolerate the high doses of chemotherapy traditionally used,” explains Joseph Antin, MD, chief of the Adult Stem Cell Transplantation Program at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC)
“Older patients were also thought to be more at risk from graft-versus-host disease,” a sometimes severe condition in which immune system cells in the transplanted tissue attack the patient’s own tissue, Antin adds.
Now, due largely to the development of reduced-intensity transplants, which use lower doses of chemotherapy than standard transplants, greater numbers of older people nationwide are getting transplants. At Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, for example, 1,627 patients 55 and older underwent transplants between 2011 and 2015, compared to 964 between 2006 and 2010.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 4, 2016
Digital 3D mammography (digital breast tomosynthesis), the latest technology used in mammography, takes multiple images of each breast from different angles. It has been shown to improve earlier detection of breast cancers and reduce the number of call backs for repeat imaging.
Approximately one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer during her lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we will be publishing a three-part Breast Imaging Series throughout October. Today’s post, the first in our series, is designed to outline breast cancer screening guidelines.
“Mammography is a very important screening tool for early breast cancer detection, but there are several different guidelines for when to start and how often to undergo mammography,” says Dr. Catherine Giess, Chief of the Division of Breast Imaging at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). “This can be confusing for many women.”
The American College of Radiology recommends annual screening mammography beginning at age 40. The ACS guidelines (outlined below) emphasize screening based on a woman’s individual risk of developing breast cancer and her personal preferences.
When should I start?
A woman’s first mammogram serves as a baseline to compare results of subsequent mammograms.
- Women should begin discussing breast cancer screening with their health care providers at age 40. From 40-44 years of age, women have the option to begin annual screening if they choose to do so. All women should begin yearly mammograms by age 45.
- Women who are at higher risk for developing breast cancer, such as women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, should discuss their own personal risk factors with their health care providers, and may need to start screening earlier.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 3, 2016
The COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS) is the most extensive study to date testing the roles of cocoa extract and a multivitamin in improving health.
Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center are collaborating in a new research study, known as the COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS), for the most extensive study to date testing the roles of cocoa extract and a multivitamin in improving health, including preventing heart disease and cancer.
Previous studies of cocoa flavanols conducted by researchers at BWH and other institutions have found that cocoa may reduce the risk of heart disease (including a short-term decrease in blood pressure), as well as slow age-related cognitive decline. BWH researchers have also previously found that multivitamin use modestly reduced cancer risk in a trial of more than 14,000 male physicians.
“COSMOS will allow us to further explore these promising nutritional supplements in both men and women as part of a very large-scale national clinical trial,” said Dr. JoAnn Manson, Chief of the Division of Preventive Medicine at BWH and Co-Director of COSMOS with BWH epidemiologist Dr. Howard Sesso.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital September 29, 2016
In 2014, Don underwent a successful stem cell transplant at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center for the treatment of multiple myeloma. Earlier this year, his daughter Lauren (pictured second from left) honored him by becoming a stem cell donor.
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 with multiple myeloma. Don Marsden required a stem cell transplant as part of his treatment at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC), and Lauren’s clinical acumen and knowledge of the procedure made her an invaluable confidant during the radiation and chemotherapy that preceded his transplant, as well as the long recovery after it.
This spring, six years after Lauren first signed up to be on the registry, she received a call. “They told me I was a match for someone who needed a stem cell transplant and asked if I still was willing to donate,” says Lauren, 24. “Of course I said yes right away.”
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital September 13, 2016
Researchers at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center are investigating the link between exercise and lower risk of cancer, including risk of cancer recurrence.
This much is known: A sedentary lifestyle raises the risk of cancer, while physical activity – even moderate exercise – can reduce the risk not only of developing cancer but having a recurrence following treatment. What’s not so clear is exactly why.
“It’s still a little unknown,” says Dr. Jeffrey Meyerhardt, co-director of the Colon and Rectal Cancer Center at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, who has studied the relationship of exercise and colorectal cancer risk. In a previous study, he and Charles Fuchs, MD, MPH, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center, reported that in patients with stage III colorectal cancer, more physical activity was associated with a lower risk of cancer recurrence and mortality.
According to Dr. Meyerhardt and other researchers, one way exercise can influence cancer risk is by lowering the amounts of insulin and insulin-like growth factors in the bloodstream. These hormones stimulate tumor cells to spread and survive despite the body’s attempts to kill abnormal cells. Studies show physical activity can directly reduce insulin levels, and research on this link is continuing. Jennifer Ligibel, MD, a Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center oncologist and director of the Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies, led a study in breast cancer patients that showed that participation in an exercise program led to a reduction in insulin levels in previously inactive breast cancer survivors.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital September 1, 2016
Familial pancreatic cancer refers to families in which at least three members, or two or more individuals who are first-degree relatives of one another, have been diagnosed with the disease.
Most cases of pancreatic cancer develop for unknown reasons, but about 10 percent occur in families that have a strong history of the disease. That doesn’t mean that if you are a member of such a family you will develop pancreatic cancer, but rather that you are at a higher risk for it.
“Research has shown that familial pancreatic cancer is not as rare as we had thought,” says Dr. Matthew Yurgelun, a specialist in the Pancreas and Biliary Tumor Center and the Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.
Pancreatic cancer, which is often deadly, is diagnosed in about 53,000 people in the United States each year. Factors such as older age, smoking, and obesity increase the risk.
Familial pancreatic cancer, or FPC, refers to families in which at least three members, or two or more individuals who are first-degree relatives (a parent, child, or sibling) of one another, have been diagnosed with the disease. Healthy individuals in such families have an increased risk of developing the cancer during their lifetimes – several times higher than the 1.3 percent lifetime risk for non-familial pancreatic cancer.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 23, 2016
Cathy, a 44-year-old mom from Hanover, Massachusetts, received breast cancer care close to her home through Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center in clinical affiliation with South Shore Hospital.
When Cathy McCue, 44, tried to find words to tell her 8-year-old twin boys about her cancer, she turned to books like “Mom Has Cancer” and “Nowhere Hair.”
Her own story began in June 2015, when she felt a pain in her right breast while at the gym. After finding a lump later that night, Cathy, a homemaker in Hanover, Massachusetts, went to see her primary care physician, and was guided quickly through detection to diagnosis.
A biopsy revealed that she had triple negative breast cancer, in which the cancer cells do not have estrogen, progesterone, or HER2 receptors, and therefore do not respond to some commonly used breast cancer drugs.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 11, 2016
Microorganisms in the gut produce important nutrients that are essential for your health.
Believe it or not, the bacteria and organisms living in your gut (constituting most of the human microbiome) affect your health more than you may think.
“The microbiome has as much influence on health and disease as our genomes and other environmental exposures,” said Dr. Lynn Bry, Director of the Massachusetts Host-Microbiome Center in the Department of Pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).
Microbes (microorganisms) in the gut, for example, produce important nutrients. These include Vitamin K, which provides appropriate clotting of the blood, and B vitamins (such as Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12) that are essential for a healthy brain and production of blood cells. They are also essential in maturing the immune system, gut, and other tissues.
Diet has major effects upon microbial communities. Changes in diet, including sudden changes in carbohydrate, protein, and fat intake, can rapidly alter the composition of the microbes in the gut and also impact what they do. Other factors that affect microbiota include antibiotic exposures and even factors such as exercise and sleep.
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Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 9, 2016
Dr. Anthony D’Amico, Chief of the Genitourinary Oncology Program at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, is one of the featured speakers at the Annual Symposium on Prostate Cancer.
Would you like to learn about the latest in prostate cancer prevention, detection, and treatment? Join prostate cancer experts from Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center at the 18th Annual Symposium on Prostate Cancer on the evening of Wednesday, September 7, 2016 in Newton, Massachusetts. (See below to register.)
Featured speakers will include Dr. Anthony D’Amico, Chief of the Genitourinary Radiation Oncology Program at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center; Dr. Mary-Ellen Taplin, Director of Clinical Research for the Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center; Dr. Adam Kibel, Chief of Urologic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, and Dr. Jerome Richie, Chief of Urologic Surgery (Emeritus) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.
Our team of pioneering, nationally and internationally prominent specialists will discuss:
- Prevention with lifestyle modifications, including diet and exercise
- Controversies about early detection and screening using PSA and other novel biomarkers
- Surgical and radiation approaches, including newer less invasive techniques and procedures
- Prostate cancer staging
- Novel treatment for advanced prostate cancer
- Management of side effects of prostate cancer treatment
PLEASE NOTE THAT REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED TO ATTEND THIS EVENT. To register, please call us at 1-877-DFCI-BWH or register online.