Doctors Double As Rock Stars To Help Raise Cancer Awareness

A group of doctors are trying to raise awareness about cancer in the operating room and on stage. NY1's Kafi Drexel filed the following report. Dr. Nimesh Nagarsheth of Mt. Sinai Medical Center is a busy women's cancer doctor by day, but take away the white lab coat and you have a rock star. Nagarsheth and five other doctors from around the country are all skilled surgeons in the field of gynecologic oncology. But while they're on the frontline against women's cancers in the operating room, they're also fighting to raise awareness through their band N.E.D, which stands for "No Evidence of Disease" – a state they aim to get all of their patients to. The group formed to entertain other doctors at the Society of Gynecological Oncology's annual conference this year. And, like any classic "out-of-the box" rock story, they now have a record deal. "It's a dream come true in the sense that all of us have been talking about this since we were little kids, and we've actually commented on that," he says. Signed with New York City-based Motema Records and with the support of the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation, much of the group's original music deals with themes in the fight against cancer. Co-lead singer, Dr. John Boggess is a surgeon at UNC-Chapel Hill. "We think that people need to understand about these diseases and the women who have them," says Boggess. "So anything that we can do outside of the surgery we do every day in the operating room and in the clinic, we find to be an incredible privilege." It may be hard for some people to envision their surgeons as potential rock stars. But this group says they don't really think it's much of a stretch to switch from scalpel to guitar pick. "I really strongly believe that music does reflect what happens in life and what happens in life is reflected in music," says Nagarsheth. "And we have a strong understanding of each of those, so we can really help each other in both of those categories." One of Nagasheth's patients, Samantha Hill, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at young age, says finding our her doctor is a rocker on the side wasn't much of a stretch for her – and she hopes N.E.D's message gets across. "You're 35 years old and you hear that you have cancer, and you're in shock," she recalls. "I felt that he could relate and I think music is a very important tool. And I think that specifically, ovarian cancer, there's not much awareness and it's really a silent killer." The N.E.D album is set for release next fall. For more information on the band, go to or

Band of Doctors from Franz Strasser on Vimeo.

2009-01-30 The News and Observer N.E.D. aims to be more than background noise, and in the process, give voice to illnesses that have for too long been quiet killers. The News and Observer Album will benefit gynecological cancer causes Sarah Avery - Staff Writer Published: Fri, Jan. 30, 2009 12:30AM Modified Fri, Jan. 30, 2009 05:26AM CHAPEL HILL -- A rock 'n' roll fantasy is coming true for two surgeons at UNC Hospitals. Drs. John Boggess and John Soper, who specialize in female reproductive cancers, are members of a six-person rock band that has signed a record deal with a small New York music label and is working with one of David Bowie's former producers to create an album. The group, called N.E.D, for No Evidence of Disease, started a little over a year ago as a lark to spice up a scientific meeting. Now the members are scheduled to release a collection of original songs this fall, with proceeds benefiting gynecological cancer causes. Photo Courtesy of Unc Healthcare - The rock band N.E.D. will record a CD of original songs. Members, from left, are Drs. William Winter, Nimesh Nagarsheth, Joanie Hope, William Robinson and, from UNC Hospitals, John Soper and John Boggess. For the doctors, the fulfillment of their dream would be to sell a lot of discs -- not so they can buy fast cars and romp with supermodels, but to raise needed money and awareness for devastating diseases they say get little attention. "Do you ever see the words gynecologic oncology in print?" asked Boggess. The specialty treats cervical, ovarian and vaginal cancers, which afflicted an estimated 78,490 women in the United States last year. Compared with breast cancer, which hit 182,460 U.S. women last year and raises millions of dollars in research money, Boggess said the gynecological cancers are often overlooked. The band, he and Soper said, could change that. In addition to winning the record contract, the group has been invited to appear on daytime talk TV, "The Bonnie Hunt Show," and is discussing appearances on the "The Early Show" and "Good Morning America." They're gunning for an audience with Oprah. It's a long way from their roots. The doctors -- two others are from New York, one from Portland, Ore., and another from Amarillo, Texas -- were patched together, Monkees-like, by a colleague who was arranging entertainment for an annual meeting of cancer doctors. Aside from Soper and Boggess, the band mates had never met, much less played together. They rehearsed one night, and performed the next -- an hour's worth of classic rock covers. The goal, as Soper put it, "was to not suck." That much was achieved. "Everybody went crazy," said Marsha Wilson, communications director for the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation, the advocacy group that will benefit from the band's sales. "They were really good." Old-school rockers Most of the band members had played in groups during their younger days. Soper, who is in his mid 50s, played in bands in high school and college, and as an adult was a member of a local bluegrass group called Piney Mountain Boys, which split up in 1989 when the guy who owned the sound system moved away. While in medical school in Oregon, Boggess played in a band with other med students in the 1980s, earning steady rent money and a small following. But he gave up musical pursuits to practice medicine. It didn't take much cajoling to get the surgeons back in form. They played for another science gathering a few months after their debut, to equally rousing ovations, and were then encouraged to write their own songs based on their experiences and observations treating cancer patients. They came up with more than 20, and whittled the song list to about 10. Signed by Motema, a small label that generally features jazz musicians, the band will record its album in New York in April. They're working with a musical coach to sharpen their sound. "I responded to their writing and the fact that they put their life experiences in their music and that they were trying to make the world a better place," said Jana Herzen, founder and president of Motema. "I think of music as food for the soul, and the doctors really are coming from this place." Next week, the group returns to its origins and plays at the annual meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists, in San Antonio. After a full day of presentations about sentinel node biopsies and chemo-response assays, just about anything with a back beat might offer relief. But N.E.D. aims to be more than background noise, and in the process, give voice to illnesses that have for too long been quiet killers. No Evidence of Disease (N.E.D.) - Rehearsal CHECK OUT THE BANDS FACEBOOK PAGE;

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