Preventing Cancer’s Return

Posted by Blog Administrator May 21, 2012

Dr. Ligebel helps Sylvia develop an exercise routine

Dr. Jennifer Ligibel (right) is one of numerous researchers at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center looking at the impact of exercise and other lifestyle factors on cancer recurrence.

While certain habits are known to increase risk of developing cancer, little information has been available about the effect of lifestyle after cancer diagnosis – until recently. Mounting research is showing that diet, exercise, and other lifestyle factors can make a difference in the chances of cancer recurrence and survival after cancer develops.

“We are seeing that the choices people make can influence results,” says Dr. Jeffrey Meyerhardt, Director of Clinical Trials in the Center for Gastrointestinal Oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.

Studies led by Dr. Meyerhardt have found that rates of colon cancer recurrence are lower in people who eat a healthy diet, exercise, and take aspirin. Conversely, a diet high in red meat, refined grains (such as white bread), and sugary desserts may increase risk of colon cancer recurrence.

Research has found that women who are physically active after breast cancer diagnosis have a 30 to 50 percent lower risk of breast cancer recurrence, breast cancer death, and overall death compared with sedentary individuals. Dr. Jennifer Ligibel, a medical oncologist and researcher in the Center for Breast Oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, has explored processes linking cancer and exercise, as well as ways to motivate sedentary cancer survivors to begin exercising.

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Alzheimer’s Treatment: A Race against Time

Posted by Blog Administrator April 10, 2012

woman with Alzheimer's disease

BWH researchers are looking at new treatment options for Alzheimer's disease.

Imagine that in the next three-to-five years you will go from being fully independent to needing help with dressing, eating, and other basic activities of daily living. Now imagine that you are given a medication that will enable you to retain your current skills, even improve a little. But, in six-to-nine months, you will likely begin to decline again. This is the life of someone who has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

“Less than a handful of medications for Alzheimer’s disease are currently approved by the FDA. By and large, most people who take these medications see an improvement in their memory, other thinking abilities, daily functioning, and behavior for a short time, and then go on to experience further decline,” says Dr. Gad Marshall, a behavioral neurologist in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment who is focusing on clinical trials of new treatment options for Alzheimer’s disease.

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