Hear candid conversations between people conquering cancer – patients, their family and friends, and doctors and researchers working to help us all.
Brenda Brody introduces you to fellow podcast host Dr. Don Dizon, who provides answers to the questions you may have been too shy to ask your own doctor.
This is a podcast for every patient and their partner to hear.
The Unfairness of Oncology
When Dr. Dizon lost a patient during the early days of his career, he knew in that moment he wanted to change the course of care.
“The unfairness of oncology 20 years ago was unbearable,” recalls Dr. Dizon, “and I kind of thought, I want to be a part of doing something better.”
Little did he know that “better” would go beyond improved treatments. Now Dr. Dizon, who specializes in breast and gynecologic cancers, also works to address the mental and sexual health of patients while advocating for the LGBTQ+ community.
Body and Mind
Dr. Dizon does not believe in toxic positivity. Though he hints at ways oncologists are trained to soften the delivery of bad news, he shares in the podcast the candid ways he prepares his patients for life when treatment ends. Dr. Dizon also discusses why patients are often unprepared for sex during or after cancer treatment.
“The statistics, it's as high as 50 to 90 percent of people treated for cancer have sexual complications. We can work through it to try to find a place to start to unpack what's just happened, but really, it's the validation that's so important.”
“Accessing medical care has always been this very tricky dance, even for someone like me, because really the forms are always 'what's the mom's name and what's the father's name'? So, every time you're meeting a new doctor, you're disclosing,” said Dr. Dizon, who is gay and married with three children. “And I have no trouble, no problem disclosing it. But then you imagine: Seeing a new doctor for something as serious [as cancer] and you're wondering whether your identity is going to influence how they treat you.”
Treating patients from the LGBTQ+ community has made him aware of other challenges.
“So, this mother came up to me and said, ‘I'm not seeing myself in the breast feeding literature’… because she had a mastectomy and had one working breast. But all the literature at our cancer center had women who didn't have breast cancer breast feeding. The same thing was said to me recently by a lesbian patient of mine, which was, why is it in all of your breast cancer literature it's heterosexual couples?"
Dr. Dizon shares other moments that inspire the way he interacts with patients and motivate his work for to make clinical trials more inclusive.
“I think if we want to really, fully embrace equity, it's something we need to do as a specialty.”
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.
New host Dr. Don Dizon is sharing all the answers to questions about mental and sexual health after cancer treatment you may be too afraid to ask your own doctor.