Stories about: Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center

What are the most common symptoms of childhood cancer?

Girl with leukemia visits with doctor
Emma Duffin and Dr. Leslie Lehmann (PHOTO: SAM OGDEN)

Childhood cancers are very rare; in fact, they make up less than 1 percent of all cancers diagnosed annually. Therefore, there are not any regular screening tests, unless a child has an increased risk due to genetic predisposition. This Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we’re taking a look at some of the common childhood cancer symptoms, and when parents should seek advice from a doctor.

The symptoms of childhood cancer can be difficult to recognize because they often mimic those of typical childhood illnesses, such as the common cold.

Read Full Story

Battling aplastic anemia: Clinical trial gives hope to Eli and his family

Eli, who has aplastic anemia, smiles while getting a transfusion
PHOTOS: SAM OGDEN

When Eli came home from baseball practice this past April with bruises on his body, his mom Jessica, an internal medicine specialist, and his dad Bryan, a trauma surgeon, didn’t think anything of it. “We assumed his coach was just throwing hard pitches, because every time Eli got hit with the ball, his skin bruised,” says Jessica. But 10-year-old Eli didn’t let a few bruises stop him. He continued to play baseball and basketball, work hard in his fifth grade classroom and goof off with his two younger sisters, 6-year-old Anna and 3-year-old Sarah.

Read Full Story

From patient to employee: Brain tumor survivor gives back

  • PHOTOS: SEBASTIAN STANKIEWICZ/BOSTON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

People often ask me why I work at Boston Children’s Hospital. How can I walk through the halls of the place where I had emergency surgery at 16 years old for a deadly brain tumor? I honestly don’t know how I couldn’t. I believe in giving back and celebrating the people who support you, as your family does, through the most difficult times of your life. After years of treatment at Boston Children’s, that’s what my doctors, nurses, psychologists and support staff have done for me. Now, they’re like my family.

Read Full Story

Brother’s stem cells send Emma’s leukemia into remission

Emma and her brother, Alexander, following her stem cell transplant.

How do you repay someone who has given you the gift of life? Eight-year-old Emma Duffin of Enfield, Connecticut, started by giving a kiss and cuddle to her brother, Alexander, who donated his bone marrow stem cells to Emma to reboot her immune system and send her rare form of leukemia into remission.

Emma’s journey to a stem cell transplant began in April 2014, when her usual energetic demeanor began to change. “Emma was very vibrant, very active, and she did not like to rest,” says her father, Brian Duffin. But suddenly his go-go daughter was exhausted all the time. She was diagnosed with strep throat, then foot-and-mouth disease, but neither medication nor time brought any improvement.

Read Full Story