Cancer survivor working in cancer research

Hey all, undergraduate student here. Just joined a research lab in a volunteer type of role and it turns out my first project is on one of the most frequently mutated genes in cancer -- and one of the RNA families responsible for tumor growth (so basically all cancer all the time). The prospect of working on this is really exciting, but it's also super awkward to read papers with both things I'm researching *and* my type of cancer in the same sentence. I guess this is when I'll figure out whether or not I can continue my pre-cancer dream of working in cancer research, or if the emotional baggage is going to get in the way. Cancer's hard to avoid in my area of interest (genomics). Still, it was quite a shock this morning! :P

(in all seriousness, how the hell do you cope with reminders of your illness in day to day life?)


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  • I think its just time, you learn to live with it. You never forget but it does becomes easier :)
  • I understand what you are going through. After my diagnosis I changed my major from education to clinical social work. I plan to get certified in oncology social work after graduation. It was weird at first reading in biology books about cancer and learning in class how to talk with patients when I still was one. You just need to accept that you have/had cancer and this is your new normal. Over time it becomes easier, but for awhile it will be weird.