People Vs. Cancer - The Atlantic Interview

Updated: Nov 16, 2020

Irene Ghobrial, MD, talks with journalist Jeanne Meserve from The Atlantic along with other leading doctors in the cancer and prevention space. View the video below to learn more about how we can protect ourselves during this vulnerable time where we are not only striving to prevent cancer but also seeking to serve this population amidst the global pandemic. Learn more about how the coronavirus (or COVID-19) may affect people who have a weakened or altered immune response.


Video Description: What does it mean to live with cancer during a global pandemic? As part of the People v. Cancer series, The Atlantic will illuminate stories from the frontlines of the cancer community, confronting two challenges this fall — cancer and COVID. We'll explore the latest science and the power of the human experience.


TIMECODE: Initial 20 minutes - Waiting Room only with Thumbnail Graphic

Here's how you can skip to the key topics:

20:30 - Introduction from Jeanne Meserve


22:50 Dr. Lisa Richardson, Director of Cancer Prevention and Control, CDC


34:17 Panelists including:

Dr. Irene Ghobrial, Director, Center for Prevention of Progression of Blood Cancers, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Dr. C.K. Wang, Chief Medical Officer, COTA

Dr. William Cance, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, American Cancer Society


54:11 Maimah Karmo, Founder and CEO, Tigerlily Foundation


1:00:08 Patient Panelists: Living with Cancer and COVID

April Donaldson, Educator and Mental Health Advocate, Genevewomen

Matthew Zachary, Founder, Stupid Cancer

Krysten Gentile, Host, "Making the Breast of It" podcast



Detailed Break-Outs for Each Topic:



Cancer Trends and the CDC Strategy and Insights

Dr. Lisa Richardson: The impact that COVID has had on cancer and cancer treatments?

  • 23:42 Are hospitals better equipped to handle the latest surge and will people be comfortable getting screenings?

  • 24:37 - Did you also see a drop in treatments in surgeries?

  • 25:23 - Are we going to see worse outcomes in the long term because they are delaying screenings and treatments?

  • 26:23 - What's involved with weighing risks vs benefits for getting a cancer screening in the time of COVID-19?

  • 26:46 What cancer care resources are the CDC providing right now?

  • 27:25 - Are people less concerned about cancer with COVID as a top of mind concern for many?

  • 28:05 How do you suggest we address the isolation issues that many are facing?

  • 28:55 Is radiation therapy a viable option during a pandemic, since it takes many weeks?

  • 29:38 Did CDC's cancer team already have a pandemic plan in place?

  • 30:18 Has the pandemic changed the CDC's cancer priorities and how you are working?

  • 31:13 Do you believe the CDC personnel have been diverted away from cancer to focus on the pandemic? If so, can you quantify that?

  • 32:00 Do you find that the American public has lost faith in the CDC?

  • 33:00 Is there a silver lining here with regards to cancer care?


Panelist Discussion ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Panelist discussion with Leading Science Organizations

  • Dr. Irene Ghobrial, Director, Center for Prevention of Progression of Blood Cancers, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

  • Dr. C.K. Wang, Chief Medical Officer, COTA

  • Dr. William Cance, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, American Cancer Society

Panel Topics -

  • 34:05 COVID research and Cancer research panel discussion

  • 34:43 What are the biggest challenges cancer researchers are facing in the pandemic?

  • 36:00 Has the pandemic affected what researchers are studying?

  • 36:52 How have clinical trials been impacted by the pandemic?

  • 37:49 How is technology helping with clinical trials, for example wearables?

  • 38:30 How could cancer data be useful for COVID?

  • 39:50 How do the datasets between cancer and COVID marry up with each other?

  • 42:42 Does the immune system respond to cancer and COVID similarly?

  • 44:53 Will the work that has been done regarding cancer immunology help us find a vaccine for COVID?

  • 45:41 Tell us about the IMPACT Study.

  • 47:48 How are you addressing the health disparities resulting from COVID, and how is ACS encouraging diversity?

  • 49:19 Will Operation Warp Speed benefit cancer research?

  • 50:52 Will the dramatic investment in resources to find a COVID vaccine will benefit cancer treatment?


Industry and Disparities +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

  • 53:05 Christophe Bourdon, SVP and General Manager, US Oncology Business for Amgen, The Cost of Color: Addressing Health Disparities in Cancer Care

  • 54:11 Maimah Karmo, Founder and CEO, Tigerlily Foundation She shares her breast cancer story and empowers young women before, during and after breast cancer.


Patient Perspectives +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


  • 1:00:08 Living with cancer and COVID - Patient Panelist discussion

  • April Donaldson, Educator and Mental Health Advocate, Genevewomen

  • Matthew Zachary, Founder, Stupid Cancer

  • Krysten Gentile, Host, "Making the Breast of It" podcast

  • 1:00:44 April shares her experience with the double diagnosis of breast cancer and COVID

  • 1:02:40 April discusses her chemo treatments during COVID.

  • 1:04:27 Matthew, who was aysymptomatic, explains how he found out he had COVID.

  • 1:06:10 Krysten shares having to visit hospitals monthly for her cancer treatments and being anxious about contracting COVID.

  • 1:07:37 Krysten shares how she is managing her anxiety.

  • 1:08:28 Matthew describes the mental health resources he shares on his podcast.

  • 1:10:49 April reveals how she has been coping during this time.

  • 1:12:13 Krysten hurt her back recently and talks about her physical therapy.

  • 1:13:17 Matthew talks about donating his plasma since he has tested positive for COVID antibodies

  • 1:14:13 April answers if the pandemic made her life easier in any way.

  • 1:15:42 Krysten discloses her favorite virtual chats for people with her particular diagnosis of stage 4 breast cancer.


Thank you for your interest and involvement in the mission of stopping blood cancer before it starts.