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. Shah
Behind the Breakthroughs
Roles are reversed for Rachna Shroff, MD, MS, and Nina Shah, MD, when their parents face cancer
When they began their careers as oncologists, Dr. Rachna Shroff and Dr. Nina Shah offered patients a textbook bedside manner. Personal interactions were limited. Emotions were rarely shared. But when they began joining their parents at appointments as caregivers, Dr. Shroff and Dr. Shah realized how valuable personal interaction is between patient and doctor.

A New Perspective

 “People talk about how, especially in oncology, the more you let someone in, the harder and more profound you feel losses, the more prone you are to getting burned out,” explained Dr. Shroff.

The understanding of the process for patients, and especially the family members helping with their care, changed when both doctors experienced it themselves. 

 “I can’t believe I didn’t realize it until I saw my mom taking care of my dad for a very extended and intense period of time,“ said Dr. Shah. “I really began to not only speak to the patient, but the caregiver, and I really started to see it from both their perspectives.”

Likewise, Dr. Shroff changed the way she explained risks to patients after her mother experienced hearing loss from chemotherapy during her lung cancer treatment.  And after experiencing the angst-filled wait for test and scan results, both doctors began prioritizing reporting results to their patients.

“I am willing to let them in a little bit. They have access to me, not just my clinical team,” said Dr. Shroff, who now calls and texts patients with results. “When it was my mother, I needed to hear from the doctor.”

The role reversal also changed their views on clinical research and the contributions patients make to science in their own effort to survive.

“Having had a loved one have cancer and have them receive the benefits of progress that has been made through clinical research…it is always at the forefront  of my mind,” says Dr. Shroff.

Your Stories
A Conversation Between Friends

Dr. Shah and Dr. Shroff share how everything changed for them – and their patients  - when they experienced cancer with their parents.

At that moment, I flipped from being the oncologist to being a daughter, a caregiver.
Dr. Rachna Shroff