Cancer Convos: Survivorship. Advocacy. Policy.

A Podcast from NCCS

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In “Cancer Convos,” leaders of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship talk with health care experts, providers, cancer survivors, caregivers, and advocates about cancer survivorship, advocacy, and policy efforts to improve cancer care.

Shelley Fuld Nasso, MPP, is the CEO of NCCS with a strong mission. Formerly leading public policy with the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Shelley found her calling to advocacy as a dear friend lost his battle to cancer at only 43 years old. Now, she is bringing survivors and healthcare providers together with a new podcast. Lindsey Houff, MPA is the Senior Policy Manager for NCCS. A dedicated advocate and graduate of Virginia Tech, Lindsey lost her father at a young age to Melanoma. The NCCS team is working to build a brighter future for those who have been affected by cancer. As NCCS aims to improve public policies, the advocates and survivors behind the story are inspiring and educational. Education, inspiration and connection, the keys to bringing survivors and healthcare together with a common goal; surviving cancer.

Cancer Convos Episodes

Where is Veronika’s Safety Net?

July 30, 2020

Official Trailer

Full Episode

Veronika, a Non-Hodgkins lymphoma cancer survivor, NCCS advocate, and Museum Educator, leads group tours of young, aspiring artists at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburg. In the cramped exhibit halls and close quarters of the indoor museum, she would feel the hugs of her young guests who greeted her as she prepared groups for interactive demonstrations. She also served as the front-line for the museum by being the first face a visitor would see. Visitors came to Veronika for answers.

Since Friday the 13th of March, Veronika has been furloughed from her museum and safely quarantined alone in her home. As a cancer survivor with a depleted immune system, she is at a heightened risk for a deadly infection if she contracts COVID-19, which would most likely cost her her life. Yet, Veronika loves her job and finds her life purpose in her work, which gives her both happiness and security to pay bills and receive health insurance. But now, she fears her job will soon require her to go back to the museum, which in turn, will compromise her health and safety.

How Does COVID-19 Affect People with Cancer?

July 23, 2020

In addition to the shock of a cancer diagnosis and stress of treatment, cancer patients may also be at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 because their cancer, or its treatment, has left them more vulnerable to complications. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) launched a long-term, nationwide study of COVID-19 in people with cancer called NCI COVID-19 in Cancer Patients Study (NCCAPS).

In this podcast episode, NCCS CEO Shelley Fuld Nasso speaks with leaders of the study] about how it will help scientists answer key questions about COVID-19’s impact on cancer patients, as well as cancer’s impact on the course of COVID-19. The findings have the potential to influence the treatment of cancer patients with COVID-19 in the future.

About the Guests:

Andrea Denikof, RN, MS, ANP
Head of NCTN Clinical Trials Operations, National Cancer Institute

Larissa Korde, MD, MPH
Head of Breast Cancer and Melanoma Therapeutics, National Cancer Institute

Patty Spears
Research Patient Advocate and Program Manager of Cancer Information & Support Network

Living with Stage IV Cancer During a Pandemic

July 1, 2020

In this episode, NCCS CEO Shelley Fuld Nasso talks to cancer survivorship advocates Janet Freeman-Daily, Sheila McGlown, and Kelly Shanahan about living with stage IV cancer and continuing their advocacy during a pandemic. Janet Freeman-Daily is a non-small cell lung cancer survivor, a former aerospace engineer and technical translator who writes and lectures about the cancer experience, and collaborates with with scientists and researchers. She is a moderator of the #LCSM lung cancer community on Twitter and you can follow her @JFreemanDaily.

Sheila McGlown is a mother, wife, 25-year veteran of the United States Air Force, metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patient and advocate. Read her story here:

Kelly Shanahan, MD is a metastatic patient advocate, a board member of the metastatic breast cancer awareness organization METAvivor, and a former OB/GYN. She is an avid tweeter, you can follow her @stage4kelly.

Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities During COVID-19

June 10, 2020

In this episode, Lindsay talks to Dr. Coral Olazagasti of Northwell Health in New York about how we aren’t all “in the same boat” when it comes to the COVID-19 health crisis. Dr. Olazagasti outlines cancer care disparities that exist in many communities of color, and we talk about what policies might address these gaps. Read Dr. Olazagasti’s editorial in The Cancer Letter, “When disparities widen: COVID-19 in minority patients with cancer” here:

NCCS COVID-19 and Cancer resources:

Radiation Oncology Care During COVID-19

May 21, 2020

NCCS CEO Shelley Fuld Nasso talks to Leading experts from the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Ronald D. Ennis, MD and Louis Potters, MD about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected radiation oncology practices. NCCS is pleased to co-present this conversation with ASTRO. The conversation focused on how cancer patients can receive life-saving radiation treatment while implementing safety and quality measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Shelley Fuld Nasso also posed important questions and concerns from cancer survivors about their care. The discussion reminded us of an important theme during this time: cancer does not wait. Together, we hope this discussion informs cancer survivors, and their loved ones, about how to get the help they need and live well during and after cancer treatment.

For resources about coronavirus and cancer, visit the NCCS COVID resources page at: ASTRO has resources for both health care professionals and patients at:

Health Policy and Advocacy During the COVID-19 Pandemic

May 13, 2020

In this episode, NCCS Policy Manager Lindsay Houff talks to Jamie Ledezma, an attorney who specializes in cancer rights. Jamie discusses how health policy is changing at a rapid pace, at both the state and federal levels. A cancer survivor herself, Jamie also shares what it’s like as a patient navigating the health care system during COVID-19, and gives advice for fellow patients who are looking for answers. During the conversation, Jamie mentioned a health insurance resource page from Triage Cancer, an organization who focuses on cancer patient rights and advocacy: For resources about coronavirus and cancer, visit the NCCS COVID resources page at

Cancer Care on the Front Lines of COVID-19 With Dr. Don Dizon

April 29, 2020

In this episode, we talk with Dr. Don Dizon, a medical oncologist who is chronicling his experience on the front lines of oncology during COVID-19 in a series for Medscape entitled COVID-19: Diary of an Oncologist. ( We talk with Dr. Dizon about the challenges of delivering cancer care and conducting clinical trials during a pandemic. He shares his advice for cancer patients currently in treatment, as well as for cancer survivors coping with the stress and anxiety of life after cancer. We also talk about how he engages on social media and uses TikTok to create fun educational messages. He also shares how virtual communities can provide support during challenging times. Find Dr. Dizon on Twitter: @drdonsdizon

COVID-19 and Cancer: Managing Stress, Anxiety, and Grief During Uncertain Times

April 22, 2020

Listen in to Dr. Imani Price, licensed Psychologist, cognitive behavior therapist, and breast cancer awareness advocate facilitate a panel discussion on managing stress in these uncertain times. Dr. Price uses a therapeutic approach to provide spirituality, support, and practical feedback to help clients effectively address personal life challenges.

COVID-19 and Cancer: A Conversation with Otis Brawley, MD

April 15, 2020

Otis Brawley, MD, a globally recognized expert in cancer control, joins National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) CEO Shelley Fuld Nasso for a conversation about the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and how it is affecting cancer survivors, care delivery, and cancer research. Dr. Brawley is a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Oncology and Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. Find Dr. Brawley on Twitter: @otisbrawley.

Cancer Convos is sponsored in part by The Pfizer Foundation.

The Pfizer Foundation