Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation, developed the podcast series Your Stories: Conquering Cancerto showcase unscripted conversations between patients, doctors, and the family and friends who conquer cancer with them. 

One day, Mark Applebaum, MD, is decorating a child’s hospital room. The next day, he’s in the lab discovering a research breakthrough. In the Your Stories episode, “Childlike Hopes,” Dr. Applebaum shares how treatments for children with cancer are improving. It’s a story about the power of research and what matters most for all people conquering cancer.

Patient-first approach

Experiencing cancer as a child can be especially difficult, particularly for Dr. Applebaum’s patients with neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is a tumor affecting nerve cells around the brain. Recovery typically involves intense treatments and long hospital stays. But Dr. Applebaum is working to make treatment easier and more effective for his young patients.

“I try to research better cures and try to find different ways of identifying patients who are more likely to have better or worse disease and really figure out how we can precisely treat those kids,” explains Dr. Applebaum. “If the patient is first, you will not be wrong.”

As he works to make care better, he’s gaining the insight needed to help his patients at every stage of the cancer experience.

“We need to make [patients] do well, but we also need to make sure that they are—you know, in my case, in pediatrics— going to school, seeing their friends, acting like children,” explains Dr. Applebaum.

Dr. Applebaum believes patient-based clinical research impacts everyone touched by cancer. In this Your Stories episode, he shares a story about 1 of his patients with neuroblastoma.

“Seeing all the pictures and hearing the stories of how their family had to rally through the good and bad, it was really quite touching,” reflects Dr. Applebaum. “It really brought home, I think, the importance of what we do.”

Hear more about Dr. Applebaum’s story. The Your Stories podcast, from Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation, features candid conversations between family and friends who conquer cancer alongside their loved ones. Subscribe to Your Stories on Apple Podcasts and Google Play today.

Read a transcript.