American Cancer Society Committee members inspired by loved ones to reduce the global impact of cancer
Cancer — few words can provoke as visceral a response. Pacific’s American Cancer Society Committee (ACSC) knows cancer profoundly impacts millions worldwide and these future pharmacists are committed to lessening its devastating impact.
“Our mission is to raise cancer awareness by educating the community at health fairs, hosting speaker events and raising funds to support the American Cancer Society’s research,” said Victoria Te ’23. “Through informational posters and anatomical models, we teach patients how to perform self-examinations, what signs and symptoms to look out for and what prevention methods are recommended to lower the risk of cancer.”
Every October ACSC collaborates with local businesses, artists and vendors to help raise funds for the American Cancer Society during Breast Cancer Awareness Week. ACSC also participates in health care outreach and fundraising events, including Relay for Life, throughout the year.
Co-chairs Te and Christine Phan ’23 have a personal connection to ACSC’s mission.
“I have had close ones who have lost their battles with cancer and know of others who are still fighting,” said Te. “These individuals are some of the strongest people I know, their strength and perseverance inspire me. Coming to pharmacy school, I wanted to continue my dedication to helping those affected by cancer, as well as learn about current drug treatments and ongoing research.”
Phan is honoring her aunt’s legacy.
“A huge motivator for me to become a pharmacist was my aunt, who was a pharmacist,” said Phan. “Unfortunately, she passed away from breast cancer and leukemia during my college years. Losing one of the strongest people I knew was a huge shock to me. When I got into pharmacy school, I wanted to join ACSC to be an active part of promoting awareness about cancer symptoms and news about cancer research. I hope that by promoting awareness of cancer, more people can look out for themselves and be more proactive in getting medical attention when they notice the signs and symptoms.”
May is National Cancer Research Month, a time to bring awareness to the ongoing efforts to develop more effective and accessible treatment options. In 2020, cancer was the leading cause of death worldwide according to the World Health Organization and the second leading cause of death in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“As health care professionals, we have a responsibility to help propel this research forward by showing our support for new treatments and cures in order to improve the prognosis of those affected by cancer.”
“Cancer affects people on a global scale, so it is imperative that cancer prevention, education and treatment has just as wide of a reach,” said Inderdeep Saggi ’24. “As health care professionals, we have a responsibility to help propel this research forward by showing our support for new treatments and cures in order to improve the prognosis of those affected by cancer.”
Oncology is a career path within pharmacy where pharmacists can be part of interdisciplinary teams working directly with cancer patients.
“Oncology pharmacists are responsible for providing direct patient care, such as medication management and managing the side effects that often accompany chemotherapy,” said Phan. “Their clinical experience and direct patient-patient interactions also allows them to help write institutional guidelines to streamline evidence-based decision making to improve patient care.”