When the cancer researcher becomes the patient

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Cancer research is driven by the need for improving the lives of patients with cancer. A cancer scientist’s attention can be absorbed by the daily challenges of experimental research, running a lab and securing funding. Hearing about the patient’s experience can serve as a powerful reminder of the reason and urgency for doing this work — and the experience of being a patient can change a scientist’s approach to cancer research on a broader scale.

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I am forever grateful to my oncologist John H. Fetting and to all of my clinical colleagues who patiently answered my questions and helped me to navigate my way through treatment, to my laboratory colleagues who always found ways to keep me laughing during therapy, to the nurses and clinical staff who fight in the trenches every day for their patients, to Dennis J. Slamon and the scientists and clinicians who developed and tested the drugs that saved my life and finally to my husband, children and family for supporting me every step of the way and never giving up.

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Correspondence to Cynthia A. Zahnow.

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