I had the opportunity to attend the Davis ScienceCafe conversation on cancer tonight and I first want to say that this kind of presentation is an amazing thing to have. 

The ScienceCafe is a monthly event in which people can learn about different scientific topics in an intimate setting, with the ability to ask the presenter questions and keep an open dialogue. The concept is an amazing way to educate people on various advances in the sciences and be able to answer pressing questions that you wouldn’t otherwise have a way of getting answered. The topic for tonight was on cancer and presented by a researcher and professor at UC Davis, Ken Kaplan. 

While the talk was mostly on adult cancers and tumors, I was able to glean quite a bit of insight into the cellular makeup of cancers and how they work on a molecular scale. But what I took away most from the event, was just how little the general public knows about cancer. 

Cancer has become so taboo in society and I feel that it restricts progress by keeping a lid on the topic and avoiding conversations. A large portion of people don’t realize that cancer is a very broad term to describe different diseases. On the same token as cerebral palsy isn’t just one thing, cancer encompasses numerous different forms of cellular issues. From leukemia to breast cancer to tumors and more, cancer is a topic that I feel more people should understand. I don’t quite know where to start on shedding light on the topic, but I will be planning a series of videos that attempt to address different issues in an effort to explain cancer in a less intimidating form. I want parents to be able to make informed decisions about treatments and possibly clinical trials that could help us in our goal of finding better protocols and ultimately cures. When I hear people say “we need to find a cure for cancer” I often wonder if they mean a single cure to take care of every form of cancer there is. And I don’t feel that will ever be possible due to different cancers being vastly different from one another. 

We need to be able to open dialogue without fear or intimidation so people realize that there are no stupid questions when it comes to this. Again, thank you to Ken Kaplan for the conversation and to Davis ScienceCafe for planning this.