February Donor Spotlight: Gena Cook
With an average board tenure of over 7 years and combined decades of professional experience related to oncology, NCCN Foundation’s Board of Directors is dedicated to helping cancer patients participate in their treatment decisions and support oncology innovation. Gena Cook serves as Board Chair, and has served on the Board since 2010. Ms. Cook founded and built Navigating Cancer as President & CEO and held executive leadership positions at McKesson and Bristol-Myers Squibb and currently is a Director with Blue Note Therapeutics.
We asked Ms. Cook to share her thoughts on the importance of the NCCN Foundation’s mission.
- Why is the mission of NCCN Foundation important?
The NCCN Foundation mission is to advance cancer care so that patients can live better lives. For anyone who has been personally affected by cancer, you know how difficult this journey can be. The NCCN Foundation’s mission is to ensure that patients can live better lives by receiving the best treatment for their personal situation.
- What impact does NCCN Foundation’s work have on cancer patients?
Cancer treatment is complex and even more so with precision medicine. The NCCN Foundation provides patients with the peace of mind that they are receiving the best treatment based on up to data and science. NCCN Patient Guidelines provide patients with the same knowledge that their doctors use to select treatments. These guidelines are established and monitored by over 1000 volunteer physicians who work at NCCN member institutions to ensure that they are up to date with the latest developments based on clinical science.
- What motivates the commitment of your time, resources and network in support of cancer patients?
For me, helping cancer patients has been core to my professional life for over 30 years. Increasingly it hits closer to home for me as I have family and friends who have been impacted by cancer. I’ve seen so many improvements to care in the past several decades, but as an entrepreneur and company builder, I see so many more opportunities for innovation. It is both an honor and an obligation to use all that I’ve learned to continue to make strides to improve care for cancer patients.
- How do you hope the success of NCCN Foundation’s mission changes the future for cancer patients?
My hope is that every cancer patient and those that care for them have access to the NCCN Patient Guideline that is specific to their cancer at diagnosis. Over the past 10 years, I’m proud that we have created guidelines for over 94% of patients who are diagnosed with cancer, but our work is not done. We need to find innovative ways to make sure that patients receive the NCCN Patient Guidelines as soon as they hear the words “you have cancer”.
- Why is it important for the community to support the work of the NCCN Foundation? How can the community support the work of the NCCN Foundation?
We rely on the generous support from individuals, foundations, employers, and partners to help us advance our mission. We can’t do it alone, we need to continue to forge partnerships, to help us fund our efforts and make sure these free resources for patients end of up their hands at diagnosis.
If you wish to help patients and caregivers affected by cancer through NCCN Foundation, you can do so here.