Behind the Breakthroughs
The Your Stories Podcast

Hear candid conversations between people conquering cancer – patients, their family and friends, and doctors and researchers working to help us all.

Headshot of Dr. Mark Lewis
Behind the Breakthroughs
Between Hope and Hype
On Twitter, Mark Lewis, MD, cleverly offers bits of info on science and his own life as a patient with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) cancer syndrome. In his attempt to remove any shame some people feel for having cancer or any hereditary disease, Dr. Lewis offers “signpost to things that are reliable and that are meaningful” while providing a “very careful distinction between hope and hype.”

Before Dr. Lewis takes the mic as a podcast co-host, he and fellow social media enthusiast Don Dizon, MD, make the rounds through a range of valuable topics: living with the disease, talking to children about cancer, exploring genetic testing, balancing relationships with patients, and dealing with the stigma of sickness.

Worry and Stigma 

“I was accused of being a hypochondriac. And in hindsight, I don't blame the poor internist that was assigned to me at Mayo Clinic because I came to him my first week of fellowship saying I have a hereditary tumor syndrome,” said Dr. Lewis. 

Dr. Lewis, who self-diagnosed his MEN1, understands how patients can feel doubted and judged. He and Dr. Dizon believe the last things patients should feel when trying to heal from cancer is blame.  

“I do completely agree with you about this work that I think we as oncologists need to embrace,” Dr. Dizon told Dr. Lewis.  “And it's to get rid of the stigma and the shame. And I do think it's the natural tendency of people discussing cancer with someone who is just diagnosed. There is the need to feel protected: What is it that you did wrong? So, I don't do it.” 

Empathizing with Patients 

“I do not want the business to be about me or for me to be pretending like I understand what these people are necessarily going through,” Dr. Lewis said about offering comparisons to his patents about any shared experiences.  

Still, experiences like losing his father to cancer and talking to his own children about their family’s medical history gives Dr. Lewis a unique point of view on issues that matter to patients and to physicians. 

“What matters to patients is overall survival and quality of life,” Dr. Lewis declared. “What I want patients to know is we are trying to make them better.” 

The purpose of this podcast is to educate and to inform. The podcast is provided on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services. It is no substitute for professional care by a doctor or other qualified medical professional and is not intended for use in the diagnosis or treatment of individual conditions. Guests who speak in a podcast express their own opinions, experience, and conclusions. Neither Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundations, nor any of its affiliates endorses, supports, or opposes any treatment option or other matter discussed in a podcast. The mention of any product, service, organization, activity, or therapy on a podcast should not be construed as an endorsement. View disclosures for Don Dizon and Mark Lewis.  


Your Stories
Web MDs

With the same enthusiasm and candor they share on social media, Dr. Mark Lewis and Dr. Don Dizon discuss the issues they believe matter to patients.