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My experience as a medical oncologist, epidemiologist, and cancer geneticist has provided me with a deep understanding of cancer risk factors. Over two decades I have a breadth of experience helping individuals understand their personal cancer risk and minimize their risk for developing cancer. Because cancer cells grow exponentially, there is a long period of time that pre-cancer cells live within us before they present as a clinical diagnosis of cancer. During that time there are many opportunities to adopt behaviors that could keep them at bay, thus avoiding a cancer diagnosis altogether, or at least catching them in a pre-cancerous state. High-risk individuals, for instance those who carry mutations in high-susceptibility cancer genes (often called "cancer previvors"), are prescribed preventive regimens and high-risk screening. Average individuals are carefully evaluated to determine if genetic analysis is recommended. Finally, for cancer survivors, our health coaching programs not only help minimize risk of their known cancer from recurring, but also help reduce the risk of new cancers during cancer survivorship.
After nearly 20 years of working in cancer center settings, I witnessed the trials and triumphs of many patients and their families. But when I lost a grandmother and an uncle to cancer, it really became personal. That is when I decided to go back to graduate school during my medical oncology fellowship to study epidemiology and subsequently genetics to pursue a career as a preventive oncologist.