We have been generously disseminating our work generated as the Public Interest Group on Cancer Research through a variety of ways. Recently, we have had three radio interviews.
These interviews are excellent opportunities to hear our members affected by cancer (patients or family members from NL), and their opinions, experiences, perspectives, and motivations when it comes to cancer and being a member of the Public Interest Group. Their conversations were also great ways to raise awareness about critical knowledge. For example;
- Effects of the pandemic on cancer patients and family members/loved ones
- Our members’ motivation to help other individuals going through cancer. We hear such powerful, genuine, and strong motivation from patient and family members over and over. I keep thinking and comparing them with others that often speak on the public venues. Do you also think that they have no hidden agenda or financial benefits to gain, like corporations or politicians? That they have genuine interest in improving someone else’s life and wellness? That they have no intention or make no attempt to manipulate for personal gain?…. The only personal gain would be the happiness/satisfaction coming out of knowing they did help someone go through cancer journey a little bit easier, or helped them prevent or early diagnose their cancer?
- Our members’ experience with disease symptoms, and importance of early diagnosis and cancer screening programs. They mentioned multiple times that if tumors can be diagnosed when they are small, then treatment options are wider and more effective, and patients can have a chance of being cured. There would be also more chances of spending time with their family members/loved ones
- Our members’ experience with familial/hereditary cancers, and how genetic knowledge have lowered their cancer risk through clinical management and screening (that is, specifically looking for any abnormality or pre-cancerous tissues). Knowledge is power – knowing our cancer risk can inform us and our physicians, and help take steps to prevent cancer developing in our bodies
- Our members’ experience with wonderful/attentive physicians, nurses, and Provincial Cancer Care Program services, including the patient navigator program
The last one shows very nicely that while we do have issues, needs, or things to fix, luckily, we also have great people and services available to (at least some of) us in cancer care.
Note that the patient and family members affected by cancer have two things that we – researchers, policy makers, healthcare providers, administrators, and so on – often do not have:
1. The lived experiences
2. The ability to tell a story, capture the attention of the audience, and convey important messages like those noted above in a way that anybody can relate to or understand
Genuine interest to help others.
Our patient and family members affected by cancer do have these. These are why I think they are the best public educators I have ever witnessed so far.
Please feel free to listen to what our members say and let us know what you think:
Until next time,
Sevtap Savas, PhD. June 18, 2022, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador