Resources & Advice
We develop treatments for patients with genetically defined cancers whose current treatment options are limited. Every year, over 200,000 Americans are part of the population whose infrequent and understudied mutations leave them without treatment options. By pairing these patients with the right treatment options, we can close this gap in precision oncology and expand the definition of treatable patients.
Living with cancer
A cancer diagnosis is a large and scary moment in the lives of many, and no matter what the details of the diagnosis are, it can be a time of great fear and uncertainty. A good first step is to find a doctor who you can talk to and seek advice from. It’s important that you are able to communicate with your doctor, and that he or she not only explains the situation clearly, but also listens attentively to your needs and concerns. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need, to voice any and all thoughts and concerns, and to ask your doctor what you should anticipate. Some people prefer to bring a loved one with them to the doctor in order to help them retain all of the information. Many people living with cancer also benefit from counseling, whether it’s in a group setting, such as a support group, or an individual setting, such as talk therapy. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone as you work through this chapter in your life, and that it’s okay to accept the help of others if you need it. Having these open channels of honest communication can ease the sense of isolation that often accompanies such a diagnosis. It can also be helpful to find time for activities that you enjoy and that fill you with a sense of meaning, whether it’s a stroll on the beach or dinner with a friend. While it can be an overwhelming time, and making plans can feel arduous, as long as you remain open to modifying your plans when necessary, spending an afternoon doing something you enjoy can remain a powerful source of joy.
Supporting someone with cancer
If a friend or loved one has recently been diagnosed with cancer, it can be hard to know the best way to support him or her. While it’s perfectly normal to be afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing, this doesn’t have to stop you from being a supportive figure in this friend or loved one’s life. If you’re unsure what to say, that’s okay. It isn’t helpful to say things like “don’t worry, you’ll be fine” or “I know how you feel” if such statements are not certainly the case, but it is helpful to ask them how they are, to voice your love, and to offer small favors like bringing over dinner or picking up prescriptions. Sometimes your friend or loved one may want to talk about the details of their diagnoses or treatment, while other times they may be exhausted and need a reprieve from discussing it. Don’t be afraid to laugh together or discuss other topics when that feels right, so long as you aren’t ignoring or disregarding difficult emotions when they arise as well. Schedule times to check and stick to your commitment, but be flexible and forgiving if your friend needs to reschedule or cancel. When necessary, it can also be helpful to form a support group with friends, family, and caregivers, so that tasks can be easily coordinated and divided up.