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In ‘Marriage and Medicine,’ Judith and Alan Kaur Vow to Advance Cancer Research


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Before Judith Kaur, MD, the self-proclaimed “Mother of the YIA” became Conquer Cancer®, the ASCO Foundation’s first grant recipient more than 35 years ago, she was a wife, a teacher, and then a stay-at-home mom. Going to medical school and becoming a research pioneer was just a daydream.

“When I came home, she always had a scientific book in front of her that she was reading,” said Alan Kaur, Judith’s husband. 

One night during dinner, Alan proposed the idea of medical school to Judith. She said yes.

A Second Act

Though Judith had her husband’s support, some schools had reservations about a 30-something woman entering medical school—but she persisted.

“I was the first selected Young Investigator Award for ASCO, which led to the Conquer Cancer Foundation efforts to try to support a lot of young and aspiring researchers,” said Dr. Kaur.

Alan managed the bulk of home and family matters, as Judith had done when he was establishing his career as an actuary. At 38, Dr. Kaur began her job as an oncologist and researcher.

Trial and Error

The Kaurs prove marriage works best with a scientific approach. If the researchers closely study their subjects, accept new information, and course correct when prompted by the heart and the mind, the discoveries can change lives.

Today, Dr. Kaur specializes in breast and cervical cancers and palliative care. She dedicates her career to advancing care for Native Americans. Alan has also contributed to cancer research as a volunteer for an important prostate cancer prevention clinical trial. 

The Kaur method has been working for more than 50 years.

Listen to the full Your Stories podcast episode at CONQUER.ORG, or on iTunes or Google Play. 

 © 2020. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.


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