When I started my postdoc at Georgetown University’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in May 2016, I was thrilled to experience a truly comprehensive training in breast cancer. During my tenure, I decided to take advantage of opportunities offered to me outside of the lab to learn about cancer from every angle, including attending weekly breast tumor boards and presenting my work to the Georgetown Breast Cancer Advocates (GBCA).
I’ll never forget at the end of my presentation with GBCA, one of the advocates, Jamie, asked what the side effects were for a new treatment I was proposing. I was proud that I had done some research on this and confidently stated, “they are the same as tamoxifen,” a commonly used breast cancer treatment.
In the past couple of decades, progress against cancer has created a new generation of survivors. Today, more than 16.9 million people in the United States are cancer survivors. While their experiences are incredibly diverse, many are living well. They work, they tend to their families, they travel … and many are inspired to play a role in the cancer research community.
The Presidential Select Symposium at the AACR Annual Meeting 2019 addressed these crucial roles in a session titled “Engaging Cancer Patients as Partners in the Research Process.” The session was moderated by outgoing AACR President Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD, Deputy Director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.
In the fall issue, Cancer Today had the honor of highlighting two women whose cancer diagnoses led them to form a powerful partnership. AnneMarie Ciccarella and Lori Marx-Rubiner met each other after attending a weekly Twitter chat under the social media hashtag #BCSM (for Breast Cancer Social Media). They formed an unbreakable bond that challenged them both—and ultimately affected many researchers.