While perusing the Twittersphere, I came across the Twitter account of Cancer Shop USA and decided to take a closer look. Once realizing what a wealth of resources they had for cancer patients, as the first and only patient requested, doctor approved on-line store to offer products to help patients with the side effects of treatment, I naturally wanted to know how they got started.
Little did I know that what lead to their origin was the cancer diagnosis of founder, Dr. Melanie Bone. She’s the doctor in the “doctor approved” and quite possibly the patient in “patient requested” in their motto above. Here’s the interview I did with Dr. Bone and Cancer Shop USA.
What is your medical background?
I am an obstetrician and gynecologic surgeon. To this day I see patients regularly in my office.
Why did you start Cancer Shop USA?
When I was diagnosed with Stage lll breast cancer in 2000 I was sure that I was going to die. I went through the treatments without much hope for survival. I wasn’t working and I got bored so I started thinking about how I could help other people going through chemotherapy. First I came up with clothing that provides easy access to a port which is an internal IV in your chest. Then I developed sleepwear for menopause caused by chemotherapy. The nightshirt and pillowcase were made with Coolmax. At that time it was a revolutionary material for wicking away moisture. Slowly it all evolved…
What was your main goal?
As I mentioned it was to help others coming after me to have it easier and I suppose I thought of it as a way to leave my mark on the planet as I was so certain I would not survive.
What type of products do you specialize in?
We offer all sorts of products to ease the side effects of treatments for cancer and to help maintain health before and after. We sell clothing, nutritional support, radiation skin creams, unique head coverings, and even glue on eyebrows!
What are the biggest sellers at CancerShop USA?
Probably the radiation skin care products, mouth care products, nausea relief items, and nutritionals.
You have speaking engagements all over the country, in your travels have you met mesothelioma patients and what do they want to discuss with you?
I have not met but a handful of mesothelioma patients probably because I am often lecturing about women’s cancers. Although mesothelioma can affect either men or women, it is seen more in men. I suspect that mesothelioma patients ask the same questions as patients with rarer types of cancer that don’t receive quite as much funding as breast cancer. They ask how we can make their plight more well known and they want to know if there is anything new on the horizon for treatment.
What tips can you give those mesothelioma and lung cancer patients and their families?
I tell them that their life may be cut short by these awful diseases but they should live each remaining day as best possible. If they can leave some small mark on the world then they are immortal. All of us have a terminal illness called life, but most of us have no idea when when we will die so we don’t appreciate that just being alive is a gift.
Finally, what is “Cancer Schmancer” and what is your involvement with them?
Fran Drescher, star of the television show The Nanny, has her own foundation called Cancer Schmancer. Ms. Drescher was diagnosed with uterine cancer and is trying to point out to the world that cancer can be what you make of it. She is raising awareness about cancer and staying healthy. Cancer Shop USA is working with Cancer Schmancer by donating 100% of proceeds from featured items back to her organization. We want to continue that trend with other foundations in order to benefit them as well.
We’d like to thank Dr. Bone for taking the time out of her busy schedule to speak with us.