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Why “(un)cancer”?

Being at the heart of the diagnosis, treatment and survival journeys of hundreds of cancer patients leaves you with an incredible insight on the things we easily take for granted.

"I think this is what we all want to hear: that we are not alone in hitting the bottom, and that it is possible to come out of that place courageous, beautiful, and strong.”

― Anna White

I am a physician, a scientist, a wife, a mom but most importantly, I am a medical detective. As an oncologic radiologist, with an MD degree and a PHD in Biochemistry, the human body and the way it functions or dysfunctions has always been compelling to me.

I spend every day at work examining bodies, searching for causes for a patient's symptoms, checking to see whether the chemo has worked or not, whether the pain in a patient’s head is from a run-of-the-mill headache or is there an unwanted lesion in the brain, whether the surgery took out the entire cancer or there are metastases elsewhere and whether the mass in a patient’s breast has nearly disappeared after the radiation treatment.

Every time I open a case in PACS (that's the database that stores the patients CTs, PET-CTs, MRIs, bone scans etc), I get excited to see how the patient has responded to treatment and to see his/her cancer shrink away to nothing. However, as the cancer progresses, I also sense a patient’s tiredness, discomfort, breathlessness, increasing immobility and deteriorating quality of life.

Over the past ten years I have come to realize that the battle against cancer is waged not only in the oncologist’s office but also in the patient’s home and work place.

Charting a New Course

With so many advancements in cancer treatment, patients now enjoy longer and richer lives. In so many cases, cancer is no longer a death knell, rather a chronic disease that can go through decades of cycles of remission and recurrence. How then can we support the lifestyle of these cancer patients? How do we help them manage the challenges of going through treatment while thriving in their careers, the emotional exhaustion of dealing with a life-threatening illness while maintaining social interactions, and improving resiliency and symptom management in their day-to-day lives?

(un)cancer was born out of a deep desire to address these questions. The platform seeks to begin a discourse around these issues, develop products and lifestyle management tools to complement and successfully cope with the unique challenges of today’s cancer patients and their caregivers. It aims to provide simple suggestions and pragmatic checklists to create a system that supports both the patient’s life and his/her disease.

Through this platform, my focus is helping patients better their life and be as comfortable as possible even through the toughest parts of their recovery journey.

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Reason to Hope

There is new research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital that indicates a Western-style diet that is rich in red and processed meat, sugar and refined grains/carbohydrates is tied to higher risk of colorectal cancer through the intestinal microbiota.  Gastroenterology, 2022;DOI:10.1053/j.gastro.2022.06.054 

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