My name is Tom Marsilje. Ironically I am an oncology researcher who was surprise diagnosed with colon cancer at the young age of 40 – adding to the irony, only 6 hours after a now FDA-approved cancer drug I helped co-invent with teammates was first presented at ASCO-2012. I am currently 45 and LIVING with Stage IV disease. The picture is from my first ever team triathlon, taken AFTER my Stage IV diagnosis. This blog is meant to give occasional updates of the various twists and turns my cancer path takes me in the coming years. Having a unique perspective as an oncology drug discovery scientist and patient, I also would like to use this blog to informally “talk oncology science” to the layperson (which I find fascinating and I hope you do too after reading it! 🙂 ) as well as to describe the “patient experience” to my fellow medical research scientists. I believe hearing about recent advances in oncology research can be inspirational to my fellow cancer survivors & hearing about the patient experience can be inspirational to my fellow scientists!
To the right & on the page bottom you’ll see a “most recent posts list”. I also have a “Favorite Posts” page. There are Español (Spanish), Русский (Russian) , Česká (Czech), Nederlands (Dutch) and 中文 (Chinese) versions of the blog as well via volunteer translators – to try to spread its message of Hope and information to as many people around the world as possible. Depending on the language, methods other than posting to a wordpress site are used for translation distribution – e.g. Wechat or Facebook – whatever is needed to reach the most people in the most efficient way. In terms of absolute numbers, via Wechat distribution of almost all of my translated English blog posts, my highest readership country in the world is actually China!
If you want to read an “introduction post” (ironically via China) – it is here. I keep an updated page called “The Latest” devoted to upcoming significant dates, tests, procedures etc. since I know many people are curious to know that basic info. For the latest CRC scientific news and info I use twitter @CurrentIncurSci as well as my public Facebook account. My Wechat account is Tom_Marsilje.
I’m proud to be partnered with The WunderGlo Foundation for many of my writings. It was a natural fit – we both strongly believe in both integrative healthcare & working to CURE CRC.
I believe strongly in patient advocacy and was a 2016 national spokesperson for early onset CRC via the national patient advocacy organization the Colon Club. With advocacy goals in mind, I write a regular column for the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper focused on Stage IV cancer life and issues. I also currently write a regular science column for the national CRC patient advocacy organization Fight Colorectal Cancer called “The Currently Incurable Scientist“. It explains the science of experimental therapies currently in clinical trials for CRC in layperson’s terms – once again with a goal to be a unique bridge between my intertwined worlds of cancer patient-scientist-advocate. Finally, I currently represent colorectal cancer on The Cancer Research Institute’s (the world’s oldest & largest immunotherapy advocacy group) patient portal website “The Answer to Cancer” to help spread awareness of immunotherapies, one of my most passionate causes. I work for Novartis but all my writings & activities on the web and on social media, here and in all other public formats are purely my own private opinions.
Finally (but importantly!) I am a co-founder and scientific leader of the COLONTOWN CLINIC which is an ambitious and I believe successful novel way to transfer CRC clinical trial information to CRC patients and caregivers. It has recently been written up by STAT News & MSNBC and featured on NBC Nightly Nightly News with Lester Holt. To start the joining process, follow the instructions at this link – I personally participate on the site daily. With collaborators, I have also developed a web & phone app of a curated CRC clinical trial list for MSS-CRC found at this website.
I am both an eternal optimist watching the incredible progress in oncology research, as well as facing “currently incurable” Stage IV CRC. In other words, my life is currently “The Adventures in Living Terminally Optimistic”.