Every Cancer Is Personal

This post originally appeared on the Advancing Your Health on 12/9/14 by Adam Marcus

As a cancer researcher, I’ve delivered plenty of lectures, but nothing compares with a talk I gave in October to an audience of 500 strangers. My TEDx address focused on how the treatment and diagnosis of cancer is becoming more personal. Scientists across the world are going all-in on determining the driving genetic changes for each individual cancer to better personalize treatment for each patient. In my talk, I tried to emphasize where hope lives for cancer treatment in the next 5-10 years based upon this approach and how my laboratory at the Winship Cancer Institute is contributing to this effort.

Although I went into the day looking to impact others, I never expected the event to have such an impact on me. There were a dozen speakers that day with talks ranging from robotics and mathematics to tap dancing and beatboxing. The day of mass-education concluded with an impromptu parade throughout the Buckhead theatre. Hundreds of adults dressed in business attire lined up and were parading, dancing, singing and beatboxing. People that barely knew each other enjoyed interacting and sharing ideas throughout the day with the primary purpose of learning. I was clearly not in the familiar lecture halls and laboratories at the Emory School of Medicine, but I felt right at home and was happy to share my passion and knowledge about a subject that impacts so many of us.

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