• Cancer Patient Stories

    Why I support cancer clinical research

This entry is written  by Brittney Head, 21, an intern at Mayo Clinic's campus in Florida.

As a young woman in my early 20s, I have been consumed for the past few years with living in the moment and enjoying life to the fullest, without much thought to the future. But as a recent college graduate and a newly-married Air Force wife, I started thinking about the next chapter in my life (i.e., kids) – and with that came looking into my family health history.

My grandmother has hypothyroidism; my father has high blood pressure and I had an uncle with diabetes. (He passed away due to complications from the disease.) I know that these issues can be controlled and maintained with lifestyle changes or are treatable with the proper medications, but I knew it was important to stay on top of the risk factors.

In reviewing my family tree, I hadn’t thought about cancer until I heard an interview with George Kim, M.D., a medical oncologist at Mayo Clinic. As an intern in the Public Affairs Department at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus, I sat in on the interview Dr. Kim gave. I listened as he talked about the numbers of people who die every year from cancer. And I was amazed when he spoke about the more than 200 clinical research trials currently available at Mayo Clinic for cancer patients. These studies address new and innovative treatments and therapies, giving people with cancer hope and a chance to contribute to the fight against cancer.  His video is below.


As I listened to Dr. Kim speak, I thought about Jim – a man though not biologically related, who is like a grandfather to me. Jim was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2008. Thankfully, his cancer was surgically treated and has not returned; but others are not as lucky.

While many people may be skeptical of clinical studies, it is through these high quality patient-oriented research trials that Mayo Clinic may one day find the cure for cancer. Research offers patients hope – hope for today and for future generations. As I look to the next chapter in my life, I know that although cancer doesn’t run in my family, I may not be immune from it. But I’m glad to know there are doctors like Dr. Kim, working on research, trying to help win the fight against cancer.

For more information about the clinical trials available at Mayo Clinic, please visit the Web.