'I have known I wanted to work in cancer research since I was a teenager' - ovarian & prostate cancer researcher Romina Silva
In my final year of secondary school, I worked with an institution in Portugal called “Terra dos Sonhos”, very similar to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
I had the opportunity of helping fulfill the dream of a little boy with leukaemia, who wanted to see snow for the first time. It was an incredible experience, and I’ll always remember it because the little boy was full of energy. It wasn’t until my first year of college, that I received an email from the institution telling me that he had passed away.
That was the first time someone in my life, directly or indirectly, died from cancer. I knew then that, if there was anything I could do at all to help anyone overcome cancer, then I would do it. I never changed my mind after that and, a few years later, as I started my MSc in Molecular Biology, I had the opportunity of doing exactly that.
I’m a PhD student in Translational Medicine at UCD, which is part funded by the Irish Cancer Society. My project revolves around trying to understand why some prostate and ovarian patients don’t respond well to their cancer drugs. The project examines “parts” of the tumour in the blood and sees how these change over time with the administration of these drugs.
Hopefully, it will help doctors decide which therapies are better suited to each patient.
The partnership with the Irish Cancer Society is definitely one of the best parts of my PhD. Not only do they give us the financial support that we need to improve our skills, but they also care about us as individuals.
I really appreciate all the workshops they have put on over the last few years and the topics they deal with, such as mental health and patient engagement.
It’s always a delight for me to help in any way I can by sharing my research with patients, or participating in fundraising activities, because they have done so much to help me move forward in my PhD.
It felt incredible to be named PhD Researcher of the Year at the Irish Cancer Society Research Awards in February. I really enjoy doing presentations and sharing with people what we do in the lab because I think it’s so important to communicate it back to the public and cancer patients who support our work.
Contact the Irish Cancer Society Support Line
If you have worries or concerns about cancer, you can speak confidentially to an Irish Cancer Society Cancer Nurse through the Freephone Support Line on 1800 200 700.
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