Stories about: Cancer

Athlete’s mystery pain is low-grade glioma

Erin, who had surgery for a low-grade glioma, kicks a soccer ball during a game.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE HOLMBERG FAMILY

It started with muscle aches in her shoulders, almost like spasms, while she slept. The pain was awful, and nothing seemed to bring relief. But because Erin Holmberg is a varsity three-sport athlete — soccer, basketball and track — everyone assumed it was muscular pain caused by overexertion.

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Avery is an inspiration to her family

Avery, who is in remission from neuroblastoma, poses with her family in a field.
Avery and her family

Kids often rely on their parents for inspiration, but for Kevin and Becky McAvoy, it’s their 5-year-old daughter, Avery, who provides the spark.

Avery was less than a year old when she was diagnosed with metastatic neuroblastoma, the most common type of cancer in infants. Her cancer contained an anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) mutation.

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Genetic cancer risk: Should your child be tested?

A doctor examines a toddler in the office
Dr. Junne Kamihara examines a patient [PHOTO: SAM OGDEN/DANA FARBER]

If your child could be at risk for cancer, the sooner you discover that risk, the more you can do to prevent cancer or catch it in an early stage. Not every child needs to be tested, so it’s important to learn what genetic testing is and whether it’s the right decision for you and your child.

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How precision medicine turned Jesus’ unique tumor into an operable one

Jesus stands on a playground jungle gym in August 2017, after a cancerous tumor was removed surgicallyOn a hot, August day in a Boston park, Jesus Apolinaris Cruz cooled off with a water squirt gun fight with his mother and sister. As he nimbly ran and dodged their aim, he twisted around to sneak shots of water back in their direction.  Peals of laughter rang out from the group as Jesus landed a jet of water on his sister.

It’s hard to imagine that just weeks earlier, Jesus, 13, had undergone surgery near his hip to remove an unclassified tumor, so-described because it couldn’t be categorized as any specific kind of cancer.

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