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‘MPN Hero’: Dr. Irum Khan Recognized for Work on Rare Blood Cancers

Friday, December 6, 2019

Dr. Irum Khan talks about her commitment and research that helps improve care for underserved populations.

Dr. Irum Khan, a hematologist/oncologist at UI Health, was recently recognized for her work in the field of rare blood cancers known as myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs).

The CURE Media Group, which publishes the website Voices of MPN, honored Dr. Khan as one of its 2019 MPN Heroes, which recognizes individuals who have made exceptional contributions to improving the lives of people affected by MPNs. Dr. Khan was recognized in the "Commitment to the Broader Community" category.

From Voices of MPN:

Dr. Irum Khan, a specialist in myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) and related diseases, has dedicated herself to helping two groups of marginalized patients: people living with MPNs and people without resources to independently manage their own care. In her practice, Dr. Khan works with social workers, charitable organizations, and medical foundations to help her patients manage hidden costs of extended care like transportation and nutrition. Sometimes the cost of bus fare can make the difference between a person receiving care or suffering due to lack of funds. Dr. Khan is working tirelessly to make sure every person living with an MPN, regardless of money or status, receives the care they require.

Dr. Khan also makes it a point to pay attention to the psychological toll of MPNs in her patients. Moving beyond symptoms that can be difficult to track or measure, Dr. Khan is always committed to delving into issues beyond the symptoms people might expect from the diagnosis of an MPN. The symptom burden associated with a rare blood cancer can lead to a host of mental health issues and Dr. Khan has made it her mission to help patients manage not only their symptoms, but also any psychological effects such as depression and anxiety.

When she isn't aiding homeless, incarcerated, or underinsured patients, Dr. Khan spends time with her family. She is also active in the local Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and speaks regularly at educational events for patients living with an MPN and their families. Dr. Khan's courage in helping people who need care and lack means is a shining example of what it means to be an MPN Hero.

In addition to her clinical activities, Dr. Khan performs translational oncology research at the University of Illinois Cancer Center.