Rita Avila was diagnosed with stage IV tongue cancer when she was 22 years old. After her initial rounds of treatment, she went back to her normal life as a college student. Then, a year and a half later, her cancer came back. She had to put her life on hold, again, to go through more chemotherapy and surgery.
Through her cancer journey, Rita made sure to write everything down in MD Anderson's Cancerwise blog. She found it helpful in expressing her feelings about cancer, and sharing her triumphs and tribulations with others.
The Moon Shots Program is an unprecedented effort to dramatically accelerate the pace of converting scientific discoveries into clinical advances that reduce cancer deaths.
Speaking at a Sept. 21 news conference, President Ronald DePinho, M.D., said that a decade from now, the success of the new Moon Shots Program will be measured by patient mortality and nothing more.
The Moon Shots Program is bringing together sizable multidisciplinary groups of researchers and clinicians to mount comprehensive attacks on eight cancers initially. They are: Acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, melanoma, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and women's cancers - triple-negative breast and high-grade serous ovarian, which are linked at the molecular level.
"Hold on. Be strong. Can you feel it getting better?"
These words are the chorus of the original song "Hold On, " written and performed by Greg Lizee, Ph.D., associate professor in MD Anderson's Melanoma Medical Oncology department. The song's message is simple: Hope. It's about positivity, patience and faith -- faith that things will get better. You have to hold on through the bad times to reach the good.