Clinical Research Coordinator at Baptist Cancer Center Shares Her Story
Employee Spotlight: Candace Davis
The chance to improve lives is what inspired Candace Davis to pursue a career in breast cancer research. Davis, a clinical research coordinator at Baptist Cancer Center, began her role more than four months ago and hasn’t looked back. Patience, compassion and communication are the tools she brings to work each day.
For Davis, the job is personal. She not only strives to help patients feel welcomed and informed when they volunteer in clinical trials but also honors the memory of her mother, who passed away from ovarian cancer when Davis was just 20 years old.
“My mom is my driving force,” said Davis. “She’s the reason I help patients with cancer and why I wanted to work in clinical cancer research.”
Finding Hope After Loss
Clinical trials are research studies in which patients volunteer to test new drugs, devices or procedures. Doctors use findings from clinical trials to learn if promising approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment are effective.
“When my mother passed away from stage 4 ovarian cancer, it felt like no one was around to give us information,” said Davis. “They seemed too busy to stop and talk or offer insight into what was going on with my mom. I never wanted anyone to feel that way.”
Shortly after her mother’s death, Davis’ cousins, Sasha and Cheryl, were diagnosed with breast cancer at ages 33 and 48.
“Luckily, my cousins caught it in time,” said Davis. “They were another reason I wanted to be in research. I wanted to educate people and give them hope. I thought that if I could help a patient go through a clinical trial and thrive in life after the study — that would be worthwhile to me, even though I lost my mom.”
From Cousin to Advocate
To support her cousins through their diagnoses and treatment, Davis educated herself about breast cancer. She wanted to learn as much as she could about the disease.
“When my cousins were diagnosed with breast cancer, I learned that higher amounts of estrogen in the blood are linked to an increased risk of breast cancer in some women,” said Davis. “It also intrigued me to learn that African American women tend to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age than white women.”
Now as a clinical research coordinator, Davis helps educate and support patients involved in breast cancer trials.
“I’m there when patients follow up with their doctor,” said Davis. “I get their lab work and talk to the pharmacy to make sure their medications have been prepared for chemotherapy treatment. I also make sure they’re taking their medicine at home and answer their questions.”
Outside of work, Davis is a wife and mother to three boys. She’s passionate, organized and committed to her family and friends.
“Even when I’m not at work, I’m still telling people what to do,” said Davis. “It’s funny — most of my family members and friends might call me a little bossy, but it’s out of love. I take care of them, eat with them and spend time with them — because we never know what tomorrow holds.”
Davis urges everyone to prioritize their health and never skip checkups or screenings. She lives by a popular breast cancer awareness campaign slogan: “Keep abreast to save a breast.” One mammogram could be the difference that saves or prolongs your life — the same things Davis fights for daily.
“The best thing about going to work is the possibility that one of your patients’ lives may be prolonged because they were in your research study or used a device in your clinical trial,” said Davis. ”To look in their faces and see they know you’re trying to prolong their lives — that feeling is everything.”