Dedicating her life to finding a cure for breast cancer, Dr. Carmen Bergom is driven to help Komen meet our Bold Goal of reducing the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50% by 2026. As a radiation oncology physician, she works closely with patients and patient advocates that inspire her to improve breast cancer outcomes through research and clinical care.
In this month’s Sidewalks to Science blog, we will get to know Dr. Bergom a little better.
When I’m not in the lab I…
- Love to spend time with my husband and three wonderful daughters, ages 5 to 13
- Enjoy spending time on the lake with my family
- Love to ski
What I do… study the tumor cell microenvironment to potentially enhance treatment options
My team studies the environment around the breast cancer tumor cell that influences growth, spread and treatment response. Better understanding these environmental factors could lead to improved targeted treatment options for patients.
Breast cancer is… personal to me, my friends and family
I have a family history of the disease and have witnessed too many loved ones be directly impacted by breast cancer. These experiences led me to become a radiation oncology physician scientist, specifically treating breast cancer patients as well as leading a breast cancer research lab.
Working with patients… has helped shape my current research program
In my interactions with patients, I would see people who had the same stage, tumor markers and other predictive features, and then have vastly different outcomes from treatments. That’s what made me focus my work on recognizing these non-tumor differentiators, and this research that could lead to more personalized and effective treatments.
People with breast cancer should… ask for help when they need it
Friends, family, support groups and organizations like Komen are always there to help breast cancer patients in need. Using resources to assist with cancer-related challenges may reduce stress and anxiety in some patients, helping to ease an already challenging time.
Komen is… helping the community
I have a special affinity for organizations like Komen that battle breast cancer on all fronts — advocacy, research, and community — all improving patient outcomes. In addition to participating in the Race for the Cure and local Affiliate fundraisers, I have also had the privilege of giving laboratory tours to patient advocates, helping them see our research at work.
“Like everyone touched by breast cancer, I believe improved outcomes for breast cancer patients cannot be achieved soon enough!”