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Dr. Daniel Petrylak Shares Why He Works in Cancer Research

September 08, 2021

In honor of the 50th Anniversary of the National Cancer Act, Dr. Daniel Petrylak shares his motivation for pursuing a career in cancer research:

What brought you to work in cancer research?
I’ve been involved in laboratory research since I was 16. Through my initial training, and my training in medical school, I was always interested in diseases that had no cure or little cure and oncology, with all of the terrible diseases and human suffering, seemed to me to be the best medical specialty to apply laboratory work to improve patient care.

Why is diversity important to the workforce and the work you do?
African American men are disproportionally affected by prostate cancer. When diagnosed, they are often of more advanced stage than the general population. Clearly, efforts need to be made to rectify these disparities.

What do you think the future holds for cancer research?
A better understanding of cancer biology has led to new immunotherapeutic and targeted approaches to both bladder and prostate cancer. In both tumor types, we are entering an era of personalized medicine.

What message do you have for your counterparts in cancer research?
We all need to work as a team to continue to improve patient care and improve disease outcomes.

Each individual in the oncology workforce has a unique and impactful story about why they work in cancer research. The National Cancer Institute invites you to share your story of what drives you to work in cancer research and has developed the hashtags #ThisIsWhy and #NothingWillStopUs. Together, let's inspire the next generation of diverse talent to join us in the fight to end cancer as we know it!

Submitted by Eliza Folsom on September 08, 2021