Dana Farber versus Mass General

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mpbser
Posts: 131
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:52 am

Dana Farber versus Mass General

Postby mpbser » Tue Jun 13, 2017 11:47 am

Husband's oncologist suggested Dana Farber or Memorial Sloan Kettering for his second opinion. Husband is not inclined to travel to NYC so plans on getting an assessment from Dana Farber. However, when I spoke to my own primary care physician (in Massachusetts) about the choices, he suggested Massachusetts General Hospital instead. He said that he has a number of patients with cancer who have done remarkably well with treatment there.

Does anyone have any opinions about Dana Farber and/or Mass General?
4/12/17 - Dx CC, age 45
5/19/17 - Laparoscopic left hemi
Adenocarcinoma
Tumor size: 5 x 4 x 1 cm
Tumor grade: low
T3 N2b M1a
Stage IV A
Positive lymph nodes: 9 out of 54
CEA: 1.4 Pre-op(8weeks from surgery); 2.1 2 days Post-op
Tumor extension: Invasive through muscularis propria into pericolic fat
Proximal margin: >14 cm Distal margin: >14 cm Mesenteric margin: 3 cm
Lymphovascular invasion present
MSS/MSI-L
Lynch - unlikely
Immunohistochemsistry: Normal expression of MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, and PMS2

karaj
Posts: 40
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:17 pm
Location: Boston
Contact:

Re: Dana Farber versus Mass General

Postby karaj » Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:46 pm

Hi there,

I'm currently a patient at Dana Farber and am very satisfied with my treatment there. I honestly don't think you can make a bad decision between the two though. The benefits of being a patient at DFCI for me are:

-Dedicated cancer center with a great reputation
-I trust my medical team and know that my oncologist and surgeon work closely together.
-The Young Adult Program @ Dana

Of those I think MGH only doesn't have a Young Adult Program.

I started out at Dana Farber/Brigham & Women's because I went to the ER which led to my diagnosis. I stayed there because I have an oncologist friend at Dana who helped me navigate the system, my surgeon came off his sabbatical to take care of me, and it is as nice an environment as I can imagine in this situation.

I also really feel that the medical community works pretty well together and if there was ever a study or something that would be better for me at Mass General, I am confident that my doc would direct me that way.

If you or your husband have any specific questions about Dana, please feel free to reach out.

Best of luck!
Kara
35 y/o female, dx at 32
8/14 dx Stage IIIC, 10/30 lymph nodes
8/14-9/14: sigmoidoscopy, fertility preservation, port-a-cath
9/14 - 3/15: FOLFOX (allergic to oxaliplatin, underwent desensitization)
4/15: NED
1/16: dx Stage IV, recurrence in three lymph nodes behind abdomen
2/16: started FOLFIRI
8/16: NED
5/17: NED, staying off chemo until next recurrence
http://www.karaincancerland.com

ACPdiddy
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:01 pm
Facebook Username: Albert Pierce

Re: Dana Farber versus Mass General

Postby ACPdiddy » Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:01 pm

I started at DF and moved to MGH. By most peoples' accounts, they're both great.

Here's why I've preferred MGH:
My doctor/surgeon at MGH was more aggressive. DF doctor said resecting my liver tumors was impossible unless the tumors shrank a lot on chemo. MGH said there was a good chance of getting the liver resection done, even without tumor shrinkage. Sloan Kettering agreed with MGH.
Also, MGH is a full-time, full service hospital. Dana-Farber is an out-patient clinic of Brigham and Women's. That mostly doesn't matter, except that Dana Farber closes at 5. One time my chemo day was running behind schedule, and they cancelled my Avastin infusion because they couldn't get it finished by 5. That wouldn't have happened at MGH.

Realistically though, if you're going to Boston, schedule appointments at both places. Cancer is complicated and different experts will have different perspectives. Given how easy it would be to do both, I think it would be totally worth it.

mpbser
Posts: 131
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:52 am

Re: Dana Farber versus Mass General

Postby mpbser » Wed Jun 14, 2017 7:33 am

Thanks APCdiddy and Kara. I will give this some further thought.
4/12/17 - Dx CC, age 45
5/19/17 - Laparoscopic left hemi
Adenocarcinoma
Tumor size: 5 x 4 x 1 cm
Tumor grade: low
T3 N2b M1a
Stage IV A
Positive lymph nodes: 9 out of 54
CEA: 1.4 Pre-op(8weeks from surgery); 2.1 2 days Post-op
Tumor extension: Invasive through muscularis propria into pericolic fat
Proximal margin: >14 cm Distal margin: >14 cm Mesenteric margin: 3 cm
Lymphovascular invasion present
MSS/MSI-L
Lynch - unlikely
Immunohistochemsistry: Normal expression of MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, and PMS2

mpbser
Posts: 131
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:52 am

Re: Dana Farber versus Mass General

Postby mpbser » Wed Jun 14, 2017 4:19 pm

ACPdiddy and Kara,

We are going to try to schedule back to back appointments (with traffic it can take 30 mins to go 3 miles!) at both DF and MGH. We are wondering if you would recommend your oncologists? May we have his or her names?
4/12/17 - Dx CC, age 45
5/19/17 - Laparoscopic left hemi
Adenocarcinoma
Tumor size: 5 x 4 x 1 cm
Tumor grade: low
T3 N2b M1a
Stage IV A
Positive lymph nodes: 9 out of 54
CEA: 1.4 Pre-op(8weeks from surgery); 2.1 2 days Post-op
Tumor extension: Invasive through muscularis propria into pericolic fat
Proximal margin: >14 cm Distal margin: >14 cm Mesenteric margin: 3 cm
Lymphovascular invasion present
MSS/MSI-L
Lynch - unlikely
Immunohistochemsistry: Normal expression of MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, and PMS2

karaj
Posts: 40
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:17 pm
Location: Boston
Contact:

Re: Dana Farber versus Mass General

Postby karaj » Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:57 am

Going to both sounds like a great idea - and, yes, definitely plan for that traffic! I would gladly recommend my onc, Dr. Jennifer Chan. Good luck!
35 y/o female, dx at 32
8/14 dx Stage IIIC, 10/30 lymph nodes
8/14-9/14: sigmoidoscopy, fertility preservation, port-a-cath
9/14 - 3/15: FOLFOX (allergic to oxaliplatin, underwent desensitization)
4/15: NED
1/16: dx Stage IV, recurrence in three lymph nodes behind abdomen
2/16: started FOLFIRI
8/16: NED
5/17: NED, staying off chemo until next recurrence
http://www.karaincancerland.com

WarriorSpouse
Posts: 53
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2016 9:02 pm

Re: Dana Farber versus Mass General

Postby WarriorSpouse » Sat Jun 17, 2017 4:39 pm

We have been to both and think highly of both facilities. We use Dana Faber as the second opinion who have set the chemo plans; and Mass General affiliates to do the local treatments to save on travel and parking expenses. So far my wife is in this for two and a half years and we have been to Dana Farber only twice, but it was worth the second opinion each time. Dana Farber has set the plan that has made her NED and the local hospital has provided the comfort of being close to home for care while executing the Dana Farber plan.

What ever you do, always get a second opinion from an outside party. It is worth it to learn from everyone.
Good luck!
WS
Spouse of wife 47 years old
10/2014, Stage IV Metastatic CC
Lymph node involvement 12/15, w/ positive PET on para-aortic lymph nodes.
5 cm sigmoid tumor resection as well as positive Virchow lymph node.
KRAS mut, Highly Differentiated, Lynch Negative
Folfox and Avastin 1 YR (Oxi for 5 months) NED 05/2015
Zeloda and Avastin since 01/2016
Chemo break 03/2017, back on Zeloda and Avastin 04/2017.

"...Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other."
-Walter Elliot

mpbser
Posts: 131
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:52 am

Re: Dana Farber versus Mass General

Postby mpbser » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:12 am

Warrior, thanks for the input!

I spent some time this morning looking at the profiles of the doctors at Mass General's Cancer Center. I did a search for CRC as specialization. All of their CRC specialists have clinical trials and novel therapies in their list of clinical interests. My husband is not at all interested in clinical trials or anything novel. Unless he is at the end-stage where he is told "there is nothing further we can do," he will not even entertain the idea of being "a guinea pig." Since he does have liver mets, we have narrowed down our choice to Dr. Andrew Xiuxuan Zhu who is an expert in liver cancers. http://www.massgeneral.org/doctors/doctor.aspx?id=17361

Next, I will be looking at the doctor profiles at DF.
4/12/17 - Dx CC, age 45
5/19/17 - Laparoscopic left hemi
Adenocarcinoma
Tumor size: 5 x 4 x 1 cm
Tumor grade: low
T3 N2b M1a
Stage IV A
Positive lymph nodes: 9 out of 54
CEA: 1.4 Pre-op(8weeks from surgery); 2.1 2 days Post-op
Tumor extension: Invasive through muscularis propria into pericolic fat
Proximal margin: >14 cm Distal margin: >14 cm Mesenteric margin: 3 cm
Lymphovascular invasion present
MSS/MSI-L
Lynch - unlikely
Immunohistochemsistry: Normal expression of MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, and PMS2

Jacques
Posts: 363
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2014 10:38 am

Re: Dana Farber versus Mass General

Postby Jacques » Sun Jun 18, 2017 1:35 pm

mpbser wrote:...Does anyone have any opinions about Dana Farber and/or Mass General?

My only opinion on Mass General pertains to the time when I wanted to get a second opinion on a PET/CT scan that I had had, so I sent my PET/CT CD-ROM via FedEx to Mass General Imaging Department for a 2nd opinion. I was very satisfied with the report that their radiologist prepared for me. It was more detailed than the report from my original radiologist, and it clarified a number of issues for me. This is my only experience with Mass General.

PET/CT scans are particularly difficult to interpret and are prone to many types of False Positive / False Negative errors. That's why I sent three of mine out for second opinions.

Out of the three places where I have sent CD-ROMs for PET/CT scan second opinions over the years, Mass General was the best in my opinion.
DX(2012): RC
Stage II, T4 N0 M0 L0 PN1 H0 D0 P0 I1
LAR
MSI: not tested
Chimio-radiothérapie
Chimiothérapie adjuvante : capécitabine + oxaliplatine
CEA < 1.0
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