A woman in a blue jacket poses for a portrait from a barber chair in a barber shop
"As oncologists, it’s been such a great movement to be a part of."Image by: Jake Belcher
A woman in a blue jacket poses for a portrait from a barber chair in a barber shop
27 March 2024

Steph’s story: It’s time to take back your health

3 minutes read time

Why my medical community got involved with Movember

I originally went to medical school in Florida, then did my residency at the University of Illinois and was an attending at Loyola in Genitourinary oncology (GU oncology) since 2018. Last year I made the move to Dana Farber. Being a part of a group whose aim is to really advance cancer care and research, has been a great change of pace. It’s been wonderful so far, especially when I first started getting involved with the Dana Farber Movember Team, BELLISSIMO. I’d always known about Movember, but my colleagues really helped to teach me more about the organization and got me advocating and participating in it.

As an oncologist, it’s not just about cancer care. We’re really trying to focus more on the men’s health aspect and survivorship. For our team, we know how to diagnose cancer and we know how to treat it. It’s about that pre and post part, improving that experience. That’s something I’ve been working on with my fellow oncologists and our research teams.

What Movember has brought to our workplace team

Each Movember is something we look forward to as a team. It’s something fun for everyone to get involved with, that bring us all together. In the GU field, there are lots of societies to be a part of, but this one just really resonates with everyone.

As oncologists, it’s been such a great movement to be a part of. You gotta make it fun, right? It can’t be all doom and gloom all the time. We want to bring people in, get them involved and activated, so they can keep that momentum going every day.

My experience as a doctor and a Mo Sister

As a Mo Sister, it’s not only about supporting my brother, my dad, and my husband, but it’s for my friends, family, and my patients – because most of them are men. Movember is something I bring up a lot in my practice, for my patients, but also their partners.

It gives me something to advocate for when I meet their wives, mothers, and daughters. Unfortunately, we have many young men with diagnoses. Movember gives me something to show them during our visit. It really resonates with them, because they’ve all heard of it! They’re like, “Oh ya, I do this in my community!” It’s something to bond over. It's a great outside source of support for me to point to, where other people have shared their stories.

Talking about these things is so important. I give all sorts of news and diagnoses in my work, and the way Movember talks about things – Knowing Thy Nuts – helps to make people feel more comfortable. Men talking to women and women talking to men can be a little bit different, so sharing those resources is a nice way to put it out there – whether it’s prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health or just generally men’s health – and come back to it when needed.

What drives me in my work

Curing cancer is obviously something that drives me. But I think it’s about acknowledging and how we acknowledge that cancer happens and how we move forward after a cancer diagnosis. How do we get rid of it? Do we have to maintain it? What research can we do to make it better for you and for others? Because cancer doesn’t define who you are. Nor should it for the rest of your life. At Dana Farber, we’re so passionate about making it part of your normal to go and get checkups, so that we can prevent cancer or prevent later stages of cancer.

During the pandemic, people put this aside, which we totally get. But now it’s time, as Americans, to take back our health. And take back going to the doctor, virtually or in person, whatever you prefer. Because we’re here for you. That’s what we dedicate our lives to.