I am a Stage 3b rectal cancer survivor. Immediately after my diagnosis in 2017, I joined COLONTOWN. By training, I am a veterinary doctor and have a PhD. My professional background is as a researcher in the lab working in Cell and Cancer Biology. After I joined COLONTOWN I became instantly aware of how I could use my background in Cancer Biology to educate fellow patients and caregivers, as they navigated their cancer journey.
In COLONTOWN, I created the CRC101 educational neighborhood, which formed the basis for the CRC101 Learning Center in COLONTOWN University. CRC101 attempts to provide people a “road-map” to their cancer journey and aims to facilitate CRC-specific learning, by meeting patients and caregivers at their level of understanding. I also host many of the DocTalk discussions with clinicians and researchers; these are available in COLONTOWN University’s Lecture Hall.
The time I have spent in COLONTOWN has greatly broadened my view of cancer research and in some ways brought the kind of clarity and perspective that is only possible with the experience of cancer as a patient. I am able to leverage this unique perspective as a Patient Advocate with the Stand Up to Cancer CRC Dream Team, various cancer and CRC specific meetings and conferences, and on Twitter (@manjuggm). This enables me to engage in discussions with leading clinicians and researchers in the CRC field and bring that information back to benefit the COLONTOWN membership. My impact in this advocacy space has been reflected in projects where I help bring patient perspective into clinical trial design.
In 2020, I joined PALTOWN staff as Scientific Director, formalizing my role across all these activities for the organization and for COLONTOWN.
I envision colorectal patient advocacy and education as an integral part of my life moving forward, and am looking for opportunities where my training, cancer experience and collective patient perspective gained from COLONTOWN can be used for the benefit of society.