Juneja Reflects on Becoming a Targeted Oncology 2024 Oncology Icon


Sanjay K. Juneja, MD, delves into what being recognized as an oncology icon for Targeted Oncology means to him.

Sanjay K. Juneja, MD, a hematologist and medical oncologist, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Targeted Oncology’s first 2024 Oncology Icon, delves into what being recognized as an oncology icon for Targeted OncologyTM means to him.

Winning this award comes kind of at a time in oncology where there have been a lot of significant advancements. Juneja also delves into how he sees his work contributing to this progress.


0:09 | It is not only humbling, but it feeds that sense of responsibility that I feel all the time. I think all of us can relate to knowing that more needs to be done and knowing that we have the capacities and ability to do it. Ultimately, our patients deserve it. Targeted Oncology is an example of trying to do just that by making sure that people understand and know everything that is going on in a treatment capacity in hopes that they are best suited to treat their patients. For Targeted Oncology, who is already kind of primarily driven with that purpose, to recognize me as an Oncology Icon, I am extremely flattered.

0:58 | Secondly, it is also motivating, because I think, again, we get into our silos, we get into our routines, but change only happens in systemic collaboration. I think that starts with talking about it. That is why I think the podcasts and social media, say what you will, they do facilitate collaboration and kind of a reminder of our collaborative purpose. Targeted Oncology saying represents that as well with academicians, clinicians, community professionals, and these are the kinds of things that I think will maximize our impact. There is power in 1 finger, they say, but when you put all 5, you know, you have a fist. It is the same concept. We have to have a way to bring everything together, because that is where the biggest impact is.

1:51 | The work that I am trying to do is hopefully just a Band-Aid. It is kind of a low lift, immediate solution to a problem that requires a longer term, systemic reboot, because it is hard to keep up with the material. There is a lot of dissociation of sorts as this evolves in so many different ways. I am hoping that we have the grace, as medical oncologists and professionals, to be okay with patients knowing and learning about their cancers and asking questions that say, should I get retested on my molecular sequencing or my receptor status? Or, it has been a couple of years and I read that neoadjuvant makes more sense. I think that takes a degree of humility, but is necessary, just given what has happened in the last 5 to 8 years compared with the 30 years before. It has been all compacted, so I am hoping that that can help facilitate it until there is a solution.

2:49 | On the other side, being on the editorial board for AI and precision oncology and speaking on artificial intelligence from a medical and healthcare perspective, number 1, debunking a lot of the misunderstanding of AI. I think that is a very quick way to make up or at least help the spilling, that I think everyone agrees is happening when it comes to updates and making sense of all of the variation and how people respond and how outcomes are and not being able to explain it to patients. I think we wish we could explain it better. I think that is where technology and AI can accelerate in colossal ways the things we have yet to be able to explain ourselves.

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