Why Cancer Commons?

Our team works with patients and caregivers one-on-one—dedicated to helping each patient wherever they are on their individual treatment journey. Here’s what patients, caregivers, and collaborators have to say:

The best part of cancer commons is timely access to a tumor board. It gives reassurance to the patient and family that the current treatment approach is correct and that other options are available.

Caregiver of a cancer patient

I had never reached out to anyone else besides my oncologist’s team. I was so shocked that I did not know about you. No one ever brought up trials with me. Cancer Commons was the first and only. The National Cancer Institute should be funding you. Everyone should have access to Cancer Commons.

Michelle Kendall
Cancer Patient

They go above and beyond to help! They take the time to get to know you personally and are genuinely interested in your health and well being. Very kind, compassionate, and intelligent group of people!! I would highly recommend them!!

Daughter of brain cancer patient

Cancer Commons is truly unique at rapidly matching patients with advanced cancer with the best precision therapy or clinical trial.

E. David Crawford, MD
Cancer Commons Advisor

Cancer Commons is the absolute best for helping when diagnosed with cancer. They help you understand your cancer and all the treatment options, including clinical trials. I have relied on them for many friends, and don’t know what I would do without them.

Friend of a metastatic ovarian cancer patient, and many others

Extremely responsive and attentive to detail. Thank you.


When you’re completely overwhelmed by a glioblastoma diagnosis, it is quite miraculous to find Cancer Commons. Having a second opinion and someone to answer questions when we weren’t able to understand our doctor was very comforting. My husband’s tumor is currently stable, but we know where to turn if things change. Thank you!!

Chris Bird
Wife of a cancer patient

I appreciated the quick response after my registration with Cancer Commons. The nurse navigator was prompt and compassionate. I knew my request wasn’t going to be buried and didn’t have time to wonder how long it would take before I got a response. The scientist Lauren connected me too was very prompt in giving me answers to my question. And when I asked questions to follow up the scientist’s response, my questions were again answered promptly and with additional information.

Gail Lung cancer patient

Emma not only helped me when I first reached out, but she continues to catch up with me and keep up with me. I consider her my friend.

Anal cancer patient

The personalized “second opinion” did wonders to reassure that I was on the right path to manage my disease. The process was transparent and remarkably easy. My personal thanks to Lola for the constant feedback and communication.

Patient with metastatic neuroendocrine tumor of the pancreas

I was completely lost looking at trials. I didn’t know what the terms meant or where to start looking. When I received the call from the specialist, he explained (much better than our oncologist) all of our choices and the order he would start looking at trials. It gave me so much insight.

Wife of a glioblastoma patient

Cancer Commons walked with us as we faced treatment decisions following my husband’s latest recurrence of glioblastoma. Matthew’s expertise helped us sort through information during an overwhelming time. And Lauren’s concern made us feel cared for.

Wife of a glioblastoma patient

Precision oncology is very complicated and changes every day. The scientists of Cancer Commons provide rapid, compassionate, scientifically sound information about best options, a remarkable free service.

Razelle Kurzrock, MD
U.C. San Diego, CureMatch, Inc.

Everyone who has cancer or who knows someone with cancer should reach out to Cancer Commons. There is no better resource.

Friend of a gastric cancer patient

I am grateful for the concise and accurate summary of my treatment options. I have been waiting 3 years for this. Your goal to close the gap between metastatic trials and patients holds great promise to speed up success.

Michelle Kendall
Cancer patient

Cancer Commons is extremely engaged and proactive. Its professionals have directed us towards interesting avenues to explore in our search for additional treatment options.

Spouse of stage IV ovarian cancer victim

You’re not alone. Cancer Commons is a great resource and sounding board to ask questions and get advice and support.

Advanced breast cancer patient

In a field as complex and dynamic as molecular oncology in 2020, Cancer Commons offers an amazing opportunity for patients with advanced cancer to obtain scientifically up-to-date additional options that may improve both the length and quality of their lives, all free of charge.

Gavin Gordon, PhD
Molecular Pathologist

Cancer Commons is extremely engaged and proactive. Its professionals have directed us towards interesting avenues to explore in our search for additional treatment options.

Mark Bezner
Husband of stage IV ovarian cancer patient

When questions arose about my husband’s case, one of the researchers (Matthew) took time to personally call me and discuss his case.

Wife of glioblastoma patient

Sincere thanks to Cancer Commons and their Virtual Tumor Board for their comprehensive analysis and recommendations regarding treatments for my pancreatic cancer. I feel fortunate to have the benefit of the expertise offered by their board of scientists, researchers, physicians, and experts in this field.

Roy Saenz

Emma Shtivelman is the best—bar none.

Linda King-Byrnes

I first became an advisor to Cancer Commons in 2010 because it was so frustrating to hear directly from patients about the opacity of the process of integrating standard-of-care and investigational treatment, particularly following molecular testing of their cancer. There is relatively little difference of opinion among experts who treat a given cancer type about how to order treatment options, and those opinions don’t change every day. It has been extremely gratifying to see how Cancer Commons has brought clarity and greater access to this expertise through its convening and curation.

Keith Flaherty, MD
Cancer Commons Advisor

Words cannot describe enough the help, guidance, services, and advice I received from Cancer Commons—whether from online resources, the constant support provided by the dedicated scientist Dr. Matt Warner, or the selfless recommendations from a tumour board, so that at least I know what other experts are thinking and where treatment could be headed potentially, and plan course of action accordingly.

Wife of a glioblastoma patient

Emma has been wonderful. She has been in touch regularly.

Ovarian cancer patient

It is so overwhelming to try to do research on your own for clinical trials for your loved one—especially when you are trying to take care of the person you love, work full-time, take care of myself and my family. Looking through all the clinical trials I did before finding Cancer Commons, I was completely lost. I am not a doctor and didn’t understand most of what I was reading. Thank you all for taking the time to complete my husband’s personalized treatment options. I look forward to sharing it with my husband’s oncologist ASAP.

Dawn Anderson
Wife of a cancer patient

The team was a great complement to my local oncology team! The findings of the analysis and tumor board recommendations helped confirm that our “First line standard of care” was corroborated and also offered a potential map of 2nd and 3rd line care. Further, clinical trials pertinent to my specific genomic cancer were identified with the closest providers currently offering trial enrollment.

Mary Lou
Metastatic colorectal cancer patient

Dr. Rahib is extremely helpful and I am very thankful to have access to such professional and state-of-the-art support.

Daughter of pancreatic cancer patient

This free-of-charge, high-quality information service is a wonderful resource for patients with advanced cancer.

Hope S. Rugo, MD
UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center

My family is so grateful for the information and guidance we received from Cancer Commons during a particularly stressful time where a decision needed to be made quickly. We are particularly thankful for the help and assistance of Matthew Warner, who understood our need for timely answers and went above and beyond to get us that information through the incredible help of the Virtual Tumor Board as quickly as possible. It helped give us confirmation that the trial we were looking at for my dad’s recurrent GBM was a reasonable and good decision. Please accept our thanks from my parents, my siblings and myself. Our dad is so important to all of us and we want to fight to keep him here with us, enjoying his life, for as long as possible.

Daughter of Glioblastoma patient

Glioblastoma is devastating, and Cancer Commons made excellent recommendations to present to our medical team. They know what they are doing and have the experts that can sift through the voluminous mountain of research.

Glory Cochrane
Wife of glioblastoma patient

Now is the time to be very actively involved in your own care.

Tony Blau, MD
University of Washington

Emma has been so helpful and kind to my wife.

Husband of cancer patient

Cancer Commons has been exceptional. My family and I could not be happier with the attention and passion that this organization has shown towards us. Thank you for being so responsive and reassuring us that there is so much hope.

Larry Simmons
Pancreatic cancer patient

The team at Cancer Commons provided options above and beyond what the local care team had offered. Such a great service for patients.


Tim is so helpful and we were so impressed with the detailed treatment options report that he sent. This cancer journey is overwhelming and it is comforting to have these services. A heartfelt thanks to Cancer Commons.

Glioblastoma patient

To me, Cancer Commons has not only been a great resource but I feel the people I’ve dealt with are my friends. They give me a great sense of comfort. My questions and concerns are always addressed very promptly. I would highly recommend Cancer Commons.

Wife of glioblastoma patient

Whether via email or phone, I found the representative polite, professional, courteous, and knowledgeable. And I like that they reached out to my oncologist.

Pancreatic cancer patient

Cancer Commons’ scientists and doctors were very helpful in identifying possible clinical trials for our son’s rare brain tumor.

Mother of brain tumor patient

When my husband was diagnosed with glioblastoma, it was a complete shock that turned our lives upside down. In our quest for knowledge and guidance, we found Cancer Commons. We were connected with a scientist named Matthew. He has become an integral part of our life.

Matt continues to hold our hands during this extremely challenging time. He studies my husband’s specific case and is the first to ask for MRIs, scans, reports, and doctor notes following appointments. He recommends clinical trials that might be right for us to bring to our doctors and explains those that are not good options, as well as the reasons why. He is there to answer our questions and discuss all decisions we have to make, which is especially vital when each choice has its own pros, cons, and array of unknowns.

With a sea of resources working independently, Cancer Commons helps select the path that appears best for us to pursue. Cancer Commons offers customized information for each specific individual facing a cancer diagnosis. This is incredibly valuable as we aim to save lives. I am thankful to Cancer Commons for providing light in a time of darkness and serving as a beacon of hope, as we take comfort in believing that we are following the right course of care for our specific journey. 

Wife of a glioblastoma patient

The tumor board report summarized a lot of information into a very easy to read and understandable format. It provided contact information for additional treatment options which we will be pursuing. Lola Rahib was very efficient in obtaining all my medical records and responded quickly to our initial inquiry.

Pancreatic cancer patient

The group was useful, but Cancer Commons definitely sets itself apart. To have validation from experts who truly cared and spent time with me talking through all the options was just amazing. I didn’t feel rushed, and the review of my dad’s case was so thorough. Matt met us where we were at.

Megan Anz

Your personal and caring outreach, response, and approach were heartwarming during this difficult time. Recommendations and report were professional and very insightful. I felt as if a caring family member was with us. I cannot stress enough how supportive that feeling is. Thank you!


What I appreciate the most about Emma is her human goodness and empathy. I have never felt I was just a case for her.

Cervical cancer survivor

Spoke personally with both Leslie Jared, RN, and Lola Rahib, PhD—they promptly responded and answered all of my questions. They were both very helpful.

Wife of a pancreatic cancer patient

Whenever we needed them they were there. Whenever we needed new information or help finding a new treatment they were there immediately. They were such a pleasure to deal with that they were like a family member helping you out, and believe me I/we needed them. 

Dr. Mel Burchman
Spouse of a pancreatic cancer patient

Lola helped us tremendously in navigating the process with Cancer Commons, taking the time to explain findings. The Cancer Commons report is very helpful in exploring treatment alternatives that my oncologists may not have considered yet.

Pancreatic cancer patient

Cancer Commons is such a unique concept of providing free guidance in the times that you need it the most. Having access to their expertise and knowledge is invaluable. Could not be more thankful for Cancer Commons!

Justyna Poweska
Wife of a brain cancer patient

Absolutely wonderful!! Matt is a wealth of knowledge and so prompt at getting back to emails and reporting findings or results. It really is incredible to have this resource free of charge as a second opinion, and gives me comfort knowing what we are doing is the best we can do for now, leaving no stone unturned. We appreciate Cancer Commons so very much!!

Daughter of a grade IV glioblastoma patient

Clear information with caring follow-up.

Sister of a pancreatic cancer patient

In my dark days I did not know how to explore trials for my husband. Cancer commons put me on the right path for all my options to explore. It is a load off my mind to know that I have some knowledge moving forward. Thank you for all your input!

Wife of glioblastoma patient

The team at Cancer Commons created a very thorough and clear report which is extremely helpful! It is evident they took the time to read my father’s medical history and suggest a personalized plan for his condition. Matt was extremely kind and supportive during this difficult time. Thank you!

Daughter of a glioblastoma patient

My contact was prompt, professional, and kind. Cancer Commons helped me review my options going forward.

Cancer patient

Cancer Commons helped give me peace of mind with my treatment decision. Chief scientist Emma Shtivelman’s expert, science-based opinion made such logical sense, and it also felt right in my soul.

Breast cancer patient

I learned more about my trial options from Emma in a week than I did in 3 years of previous care. Every metastatic patient should know about Cancer Commons. And I love how they use the data to speed up the N-of-1 success stories.

Michelle Kendall
Cancer Patient

I’d already been leaning heavily towards a decision, and Emma helped me achieve the final decision…But Emma’s more than a scientist. She is a caring person.

Breast cancer patient

My experience with Cancer Commons has been fantastic! Their support and advice have been extremely helpful. I will always be very greatful to the Cancer Commons team. They took the time to contact me by phone to learn more about my diagnosis so they could study my case and recommend options to consider. Thanks so much to all the people involved.

Michael Goold
Grade 4 glioblastoma patient