As a medical oncologist specializing in gastrointestinal cancers, John Marshall was outspoken in his resentment and envy of the dominance of breast cancer advocacy and research. But then his wife, Liza, was diagnosed at age 43 with a high-risk breast cancer. Meet Liza and John when they discuss their story of how a diagnosis made them look at medicine, healing and marriage with a new lens with Dr. Pamela Kunz, medical oncologist at Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital.
In Off Our Chests, Liza vividly details her treatment, her feelings of desperation and vulnerability, the complex decisions she had to make from mastectomy to chemotherapy and radiation, and finally the elective removal of her other breast—all experienced in the sometimes uncomfortably public setting of being treated at her husband’s cancer center. John’s experience as a caregiver forces him to rethink everything he has learned and teaches as a leader in cancer care. No longer able to maintain complete objectivity with his own patients, he ultimately exhausts himself trying to provide ideal cancer care for all.
If you missed the program, you can enjoy the recording here.
Liza Marshall, a retired communications attorney and a graduate of Duke University and the University of Virginia School of Law, left practice in 2005 to channel her skills to cancer support organizations and her family. She helped found Hope Connections for Cancer Support in Bethesda, MD. In 2006 at the age of forty-three, Liza was diagnosed with the most deadly form of breast cancer, triple-negative. She continues to be an active volunteer at Hope Connections, her church, and in her community.
Dr. John Marshall received his training at Duke University, the University of Louisville, and Georgetown University. Dr. Marshall is an internationally recognized expert in new drug development for GI cancer, who has become an outspoken advocate for GI cancer patients and the importance of clinical research participation. In 2009, he established the Otto J Ruesch Center for the Cure of GI Cancers, an organization solely focused on improving the lives of GI cancer patients through innovative research, personalized medicine, and focused advocacy.
Dr. Pamela Kunz is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Oncology at Yale School of Medicine. She is the Director of the Center for Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancers at Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital and Vice Chief for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Section of Medical Oncology. She received her medical degree from the Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine. Her postgraduate training included a medical residency, chief residency and oncology fellowship at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Kunz is an international leader in the treatment of patients with GI malignancies and neuroendocrine tumors. Dr. Kunz, her husband, Dr. Jeffrey Kwan, three sons and their goldendoodle moved last year from California and live in Southport, CT.