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  • Crossing the Blood Brain Barrier

    Posted 11/7/2013 by hhill
      If this holds up with further research and testing, it is a really big deal. Finding a way to allow chemotherapy drugs to cross the blood brain barrier and reach the brain has been a goal for decades. As you may know, standard chemotherapy drugs cannot infiltrate this barrier, so they don't reach the brain. Since the brain is a possible site of mets (meaning that the cancer cells are able to cross that barrier), this has been an important and scary problem. Read more... Comments (0)
  • DCIS Again

    Posted 8/29/2013 by hhill
      I do realize that this is one of those topics that either holds great interest or almost no interest to any one woman. However, since DCIS is quite prevalent, I am assuming that at least some readers will be glad to see this additional article. The theme is the same: whether the name of the condition makes a difference in how it is perceived and in the treatment choices woman make. That is, since DCIS (and LCIS) are not " really cancer", is it fair to have the C word be part of their label? Does its inclusion just scare everyone unnecessarily? Read more... Comments (0)
  • Beyond the Basics of Her2 Breast Cancer

    Posted 8/10/2013 by hhill
      This is a topic of either intense interest or no interest, depending on whether or not your breast cancer is her2 positive. The discovery of the her2 gene and that the development of herceptin have been major milestones in breast cancer treatment. Before anyone knew about her2, it was surely known that some breast cancers were more aggressive than others, but this was an explanation. Read more... Comments (0)
  • When the First Treatment Does Not Work

    Posted 7/7/2013 by hhill

        Especially for adjuvant treatment, this is not something anyone wants to consider. If you read yesterday's entry about understanding statistics--and even more if you read the other mentioned resource from Cancer Net about understanding cancer research, you are aware that no treatments work equally well on all people. The first choice, the so-called first line or standard treatment, will be the one that has been proven to be the most effective for the most people, but there will be exceptions. This is harder to know in adjuvant therapy until/unless the cancer recurs--then it is sadly clear that the first treatment was not completely effective. Sometimes when a woman is receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy (chemo given before breast surgery), it will be obvious if the tumor is not shrinking. More often, it comes up in the treatment of advanced or metastatic cancer when tumor markers begin to rise or  scans show progression. Even though women/patients are told that no treatment is going to work forever, that the cancer cells will figure out how to become resistant, it is always shocking and very upsetting when the evidence is clear that it is time for a treatment change.

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  • How Does Chemotherapy Work

    Posted 6/26/2013 by hhill
      We have all wondered:"How does chemo work anyway?". We see the dramatic results as our hair falls out, our heads ache, our stomachs revolt, and we want to nap. There is absolutely no correlation between the intensity of side effects and the efficacy of the treatment, but it surely feels as though something big must be happening. Read more... Comments (0)
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Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215

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