My Goals Are
To offer a holistic approach to cancer care and management (i.e. prevention, diagnosis, treatment and post-treatment)
To facilitate and guide you through your cancer-free journey allowing you to take control of what is truly important to you
To allow you to take steps to optimise your physical and mental health
To offer hope to those affected by cancer
Why it matters for you and me?
Over the last 20 years, I have been thinking hard to figure out how best to approach cancer care and what I can personally do to help. Treatment in the form of modern western medicine continues to make its mark with various blockbuster drugs that have shown much promise, new diagnostics with yet more accurate scanning modalities aiding the clinicians to tailor treatments to the type and stage of the cancer and means for more personalised medicine. We are winning, or are we really? And at what cost to society and to the individual?
Having spent much of my time in the laboratory with the dream of curing cancer as an immunologist with my research in cancer vaccines and therapies in the UK, I embarked on a journey and entered medical school as a graduate in the hope of becoming an oncologist and continue with cancer research. Midway through my junior doctor training, it dawned on me that perhaps I might be able to offer a slightly different perspective to cancer management and treatment and decided on a career as a general practitioner (GP) in the hope of setting up a cancer service with the primary focus on prevention and early diagnosis and having the skill set to treat patients holistically, whilst keeping my scientific roots.
We are entering an era where people with cancer will ‘live with cancer’ rather than ‘die from cancer’. As 1 in 2 people are now thought to get some form of cancer in their lifetime, I think it is absolutely crucial for us to have a better understanding of this condition but also what we can do to reduce our risks. Obviously, we can’t completely eliminate all of the risks but having a general awareness of ones’ health and trying to optimise lifestyle is likely to go a long way. Science and medicine are disciplines that are fundamentally evidence-based. However, it often takes time to prove causation (e.g. smoking causes cancer) and we actually intuitively know, without the need for endless experiments or huge epidemiological studies, that optimising our lifestyle, reducing stress and altering our mindset will help to reduce this risk. That is not to say that genetics doesn’t play a part – it’s just that it is thought that only a mere 5-10% of all cancers are accountable due to genetic inheritence.
Advances in modern medicine has meant that we are transitioning to an ever increasingly patient-specific medicine. I suspect we will soon be seeing medicine take on a different form with most investigations being done in your very own home, treatment tailored to your genetic make-up and surgeries, if deemed necessary at all, performed robotically and remotely and along the way, artificial intelligence shaping how we practice medicine. But before this becomes the norm, cancer care must continue to evolve with the changing of times. The problem I feel, however, is that there is currently just far too much information about cancer out there – the countless websites, group chats, various feeds on social media, general news & media not to mention the charitable organisations, the research, the clinical trials and new developments – and that’s not even including complementary or alternative therapies! Even as a medical professional with a specialist interest in cancer, I find it daunting to look for information and keep up to date with the latest advances.
My approach here is to offer a website that empowers you to find what works best to optimise your lifestyle, your physical and mental wellbeing at whichever stage of your cancer-free journey and ultimately set up a clinical service that focuses particularly on cancer prevention and early diagnosis of cancer in due course; I hope this CanSure Heal It ® website will make this task a more manageable and personal one for you. Often, people talk about the importance of quality of life over quantity of life. I would be extremely happy if starting with this website (and my future endeavours), there is enough of an impact to allow you to achieve both. I have lost family and friends to cancer, it is personal. The fact that you are here means it is personal. Let’s get cracking and take your health decisions to the next level now!
Dr Paul Ch’en General Practitioner
M.Biochem. (Hons) D.Phil. (Oxon) B.M. MRCGP