“Now is the time everyone should be willing to accept help if it means keeping yourself safe.” – Ghecemy Lopez, two-time cancer survivor.
1. How has facing cancer helped you deal with everything happening in the world right now?
Facing cancer inspired me to become a cancer research advocate focused on closing the health gap for patients in underrepresented communities. As a survivor, I’m used to the unknown and adapting to a new normal. I’m using that experience to help my patients and community adapt and stay safe as well.
2. What is your advice to anyone impacted by cancer right now?
I have a lot of patients still in treatment or high risk for COVID-19 right now so I’ve been checking in on them and offering to help where I can. My advice is to focus on milestones instead of days, find reliable health guidelines, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Now is the time when everyone should be willing to accept help if your health could be at risk.
3. What are some of the barriers your patients are facing right now?
Currently, there are a lot of disparities in the information on COVID-19 that is being presented in Spanish vs. English. Many people in my community aren’t getting a full picture of what’s going on. I’m also helping navigate support services that may be available to those out of work or at home.
4. Why is diversity in clinical trials so important for COVID-19 and cancer research?
The standard of care for any virus or disease comes from clinical trials. We’re seeing this firsthand with COVID-19 as researchers are hard at work finding a way to combat this through clinical trials. The more diverse the patient population is during these trials, the better researchers will understand how a larger population will respond to treatment once it’s approved and on the market. The same is true for cancer clinical trials. It’s how we will continue to improve patient outcomes and ultimately save lives.
5. Who do you Stand Up for?
There are so many of us that aren’t able to stay home right now, and some of these people are cancer survivors who are risking their health for all of us. The doctors, nurses, pharmacists, grocery store clerks, delivery services and so many others are standing up so that we can get through this. It is my hope that together, we can change the status quo and equally Stand Up for one another in the future.