HealthBuddy Check 6


Journalist shares cancer journey for the world to see

Posted at 4:29 PM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-07 18:10:38-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- For 100 straight days, Suleika Jaouad kept a journal writing about her cancer fight.

"I wrote about all the things that felt impossible to talk about with friends and family. I wrote about the guilt I felt for being sick and the impact it had on my loved ones," Jaouad said. "And writing about it, not from the perspective of someone who has survived it, but really writing about it from the trenches of treatment."

Ten years ago, at the age of 22, Suleika was diagnosed with leukemia.

The journalist, author, and New York Times columnist wrote about her cancer journey for the world to see.

Suleika Jauad 01.png
Suleika Jauad

"Young adults are the only patient group that have not seen improvements in their cancer rates in the last couple of decades," Jaouad said.

Jaouad will be the keynote speaker at VCU Massey Cancer Center's Women and Wellness virtual event. It's one of Massey's biggest fundraisers.

A big chunk of the money raised will help pay for clinical trials.

It's something Jaouad knows about. She's been a part of clinical trials before.

Recently, Jaouad learned her cancer has returned, but clinical trials leading to the advancement of medicines are already showing improvements.

"I have been able to get into remission after one cycle of treatment versus 12 cycles 10 years ago," Jaouad said.

Dr. Leslie Randall, Professor and Director Division of Gynecologic Oncology at Massey, said patients are living better and longer lives thanks to clinical trials.

"Every new treatment that we've had in the last 10 years has been the result of a clinical trial," Dr. Randall said.

Randall said there are hundreds of cancer trials going on at Massey right now. More than 20 of those trials are focusing on breast cancer.

"What slows it down the most is just getting patients enrolled in these studies," Randall said.

Randall added that it was crucial to reach and enroll more people of color in clinical trials.

"That matters. When we roll out a new therapy and if we haven't tried it in everyone, we don't have good evidence that it really works the same way in all populations," Randall said.

The Women and Wellness virtual event is Tuesday, February 8, at Noon. If you're interested in participating in the free event, you can register by clicking on the link.