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Veda Giri, MD, in recognition of National Cancer Prevention Month

February 14, 2024

In recognition of National Cancer Prevention Month, Veda Giri, MD, Professor of Internal Medicine (Medical Oncology); Division Chief, Clinical Cancer Genetics; Director, Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program; Director, Early Onset Cancer Program, speaks of the importance of cancer screening, understanding your genetics, and making healthy choices.

As we honor National Cancer Prevention Month, what do you feel is the most important message to share with our community?

It is important that each one of us thinks about ways to prevent cancer.  This involves starting cancer screening at the right age, knowing our family cancer history which can impact cancer screening, getting vaccinations, considering genetic testing, and making healthy lifestyle choices. Each person should feel empowered to think about cancer screening and prevention, discuss this with their doctors, and discuss with families.

How do you connect with clinicians treating patients with cancer to bridge laboratory research to clinical care?

Many of the programs at Yale are translational, which means that the programs bring together clinicians, researchers, and community members towards a common goal, such as for progress in cancer prevention, cancer detection, and cancer screening. Through these programs,  I connect closely with clinicians and researchers to develop initiatives and programs to bridge the gap from research to clinical care.

How can we prioritize cancer prevention in our daily lives?

There are many ways to prioritize cancer prevention in our lives. A healthy lifestyle is really important not only to potentially prevent cancers, but also for heart health and overall health. This includes eating more fruits and vegetables, eating lean meat or fish, exercising, moderation in alcohol intake, and refraining from tobacco products – among other things. Also, we can bring up cancer prevention with our doctors to make sure we are pursuing appropriate cancer screenings and receiving vaccinations that can prevent cancer. Knowing family history is really important as cancer screenings may need to initiated at an earlier age based on family history.  Family history can also provide information to guide genetic testing, which can provide estimates of cancer risk and guide cancer screening. Therefore, prioritizing healthy lifestyle and being proactive with cancer screening and prevention with healthcare providers is very important.

Mentorship is an important part of cancer research—what is your favorite way to keep your colleagues and students engaged and learning from one another?

My favorite way to engage with colleagues or students is through networking events.  Formal ways of connecting serve an important role for engaging, such as teaching rounds, meetings, or conferences, but less formal networking events such as lunches, impromptu meetings, or dinners allow for more casual engagement and facilitate greater connection. Mentorship is incredibly gratifying.

Submitted by Eliza Folsom on February 14, 2024