The balance between life and disease

Like many other Americans lately, I’ve found myself thinking hard about – and personally identifying with – the dilemma faced by Elizabeth Edwards and her husband, John, the former senator and would-be president.

How to cope with shock of cancer diagnosis

Late last fall, Dartmouth Medical School researchers reported in the journal Cancer that all newly diagnosed breast cancer patients in their study experienced at least some level of distress, and nearly half met the criteria for a significant psychiatric disorder such as major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Well, duh!

Getting Warmer in Bid to Kill Tumors

A year ago, when Gayle Driscoll’s, breast cancer recurred on her skin, the 63-year-old retired teacher from Barnstable tried an experimental treatment that gave her radiation therapy some extra oomph . Every time she lay down for radiation treatment on her chest, her tumors were also heated with a special device that emitted radio frequency waves. After six weeks, the skin tumors were gone.

You’re Getting Sleepy; Could that Stop Cancer?

Melatonin, long known to insomniac Americans as an over-the-counter sleep aid, is now being studied as a way to prevent and treat breast and other cancers.

A Diagnosis Of Cancer Is Trying For Any Marriage

Cancer can be very tough on a marriage just ask Sandro Segalini, 64, of Falmouth.

His first wife died of breast cancer 14 years ago. His second wife, Marcia Woltjer, 59, left him earlier this year, three years after her own diagnosis with breast cancer. Segalini, a retired businessman, had been totally willing to take control of things and help Woltjer the way he had helped his first wife to be, as he put it, “chief cook, bottle washer, bandage changer, and jester.”

Optimism isn’t the cure

Nancy Achin Audesse, 45, knows a thing or two about serious illness and optimism.  

New Cancer Therapy Easier on the Patient

Eighty-two year old Marie Desilets lives in Dunstable, about an hour’s drive from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. When she discovered that she needed radiation for breast cancer a year or so ago, she faced a dilemma.

Sentinel Node Biopsy – Ready for Prime Time?

Anna Coppinger, 61, a school cafeteria worker from Hingham, lies waiting outside the operating room at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, chatting with her husband and daughters –  and wincing whenever she jostled the needle that had been placed in her left breast several hours earlier to guide surgeons to the exact spot where her tumor lay.

Hopes dim for controversial breast cancer treatment

Convinced by doctors that bone marrow transplantation offered the best chance at survival, thousands of women with breast cancer have agreed to the controversial procedure — despite the lack of proof that it could save, or even prolong, their lives more than standard therapy.

Lymphedema finally getting some attention

Marianne Lynnworth, 66, a writer and former geographer, isn’t sure why she got lymphedema, though she thinks a case of frostbite when she was a teenager probably touched off a hereditary tendency to the disease.

But she sure does know what a struggle it’s been for the last 52 years.