In 2000 I was told I had lymphoma. Needless to say I was devastated. My family, friends, doctors, nurses, and personalized care were invaluable to me during that time. Part of my experience was learning how the use of my DNA information could guide treatment options for my lymphoma. Plus, I wanted to understand the implications for my family. I feel I am still alive because I chose to receive a targeted DNA Vaccine as part of my healthcare.
Surviving has allowed me to experience the birth of two new granddaughters, enjoy 19 more years of living, and embrace this opportunity to help others understand that we’re not alone when our journey gets sidetracked by a health problem.
I am a nurse with a PhD and have used that education at the National Institutes of Health over the past 40 years as an oncology staff nurse, research nurse, Chief of the Cancer Nursing Service, Clinical Nurse Specialist Consultant (Cancer Genetics), and Clinical Advisor. This means that I’ve been working towards improving care options for people through being involved in clinical trials, new procedures, and developing new therapies to battle cancer. Along the way, I became interested in using genetics and genomics information to fight disease.
As this emerging field expands, I think it's important for health care providers to understand what people's experiences are in using or not using DNA information in their healthcare. Although I chose to use DNA information to treat my lymphoma, I'm equally interested in the reasons why people choose not to use DNA information. That's why I want to hear your stories.
Since my own treatment in 2001, there have been revolutionary discoveries that have enabled those with a similar diagnosis to receive treatments based on their precise molecular DNA changes and receive drugs that are tailored to their individualized tumor features. All of that has been made possible because of extensive ongoing research.