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.

Dr. Nathalie McKenzie
Dr. Nathalie McKenzie
Behind the Breakthroughs
Never Stop Conquering
Dr. Nathalie McKenzie spent her 31st birthday getting a PET scan. She had just been diagnosed with Stage II triple-negative breast cancer.

Though nearly two decades have passed since Dr. McKenzie was a patient, she dedicates her work in gynecological cancer research and care to finding ways to help her patients survive and thrive.
“I'd like to thank you for considering the gift of giving. You are impacting the lives of patients. You are impacting the lives of the people they care for, whether they're aging parents or children. And more than likely you're impacting an entire community,” said Dr. McKenzie. “You are impacting the lives of communities by this one life that you may save.” 

Research is Palpable 

“30-year-olds aren’t supposed to have something bad,” Dr. McKenzie said, recalling how, for a while, she ignored a lump in her breast. “Thankfully, I had a nagging mom who told me all lumps need to be checked out, even if I’m a doctor.” 

Because she is a doctor, when she was a patient, Dr. McKenzie was quick to recognize the benefits advances in treatment through cancer research provided her.  

“The landscape was changing when I was diagnosed, and there was a former protocol that was still being used. There was a new study that had recently been published that was changing the way things were being done. And I had the opportunity to weigh the pros and cons of two different protocols, and I chose the more recent, newly published protocol at the time,” said Dr. McKenzie. “So, research had a direct impact, and it was palpable.” 

When Dr. McKenzie wanted to make a difference for her own patients, she became a researcher. Early in her career, she was granted a Conquer Cancer Young Investigator Award.  

“I was funded to initiate a phase I clinical trial to repurpose an old drug for cancer use,” she explained.  “And there was certainly enough preliminary data that justified its use for cancer and for HPV-related cancers.” 

Dr. McKenzie explains how this discovery is helping her patients and shares what she thinks is the greatest need facing patients with cancer today. 

The Gift of Time 

“The past is gone; the future is unknown. But the moment is what we have,” reflected Dr. McKenzie, who shares how she tasks her patients with practicing mindfulness. 

Dr. McKenzie counts time as her greatest gift, and in her 17 years as a survivor, she has not wasted a moment. She spends her days helping patients, researching new therapies, and traveling the world to provide treatment for people who lack resources and access to quality care. 

“If I could give patients and survivors a gift this holiday, it would be education about mindset about how to better enjoy life and finding purpose and meaning in life. And I think these are things that all of us can enjoy, regardless of where we are,” she says.

And because research helped her conquer breast cancer, Dr. McKenzie gives thanks to those whose generous gifts support her studies and the work of Conquer Cancer researchers around the world to improve care for every cancer, every patient, everywhere. 

“I'd like to thank you for considering the gift of giving. You are impacting the lives of patients. You are impacting the lives of the people they care for, whether they're aging parents or children. And more than likely you're impacting an entire community,” said Dr. McKenzie. “You are impacting the lives of communities by this one life that you may save.” 


Disclaimer       
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 Mark Lewis. 

  

Your Stories
Making a Difference

Dr. Nathalie McKenzie is a global caregiver, an innovative scientist, and an advocate for equitable care whose patients celebrate her compassion and determination. She is also a breast cancer survivor who knows firsthand how Cancer Research Saves Lives™.