Image by Zoltan Tasi


In 2018 at the age of 37 I had a young family, a thriving career, and dreams for the future. I was not prepared to be diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer.

Well-meaning family and friends assumed I wanted to fight it. 

Our kitchen transformed into a factory of carrot juice and dishes featuring garlic and mushroom (good for the lungs, according to Chinese medicine). My wife, Petrina, was one click away from ordering coffee enemas. My brother was ringing around hospitals in the US trying to get me on a drug trial. A friend gave me a link to a support group that was lobbying to get my cancer drug funded.

But going down these paths felt desperately fearful, inauthentic, and disempowering.

While I wanted to live, I also knew that I wanted to live consciously. That meant living free of the illusion that life was something that was happening to me or entirely by me. Yes, my situation looked terrible, but only if I chose to look through the absurdly narrow lens that society wants us to wear. The moment I found the courage to drop that lens, I could see that everything, including cancer, was life unfolding perfectly through me and AS ME.

It is possible to embrace a challenge like cancer head-on without it being a fight.

So instead of fighting, I simply chose to live powerfully.

I choose to live by being grateful for the life that I had been given.

I choose to live by being generous with my time, energy, and compassion.

I choose to live by trusting my intuition when it came to making important treatment and life decisions. I choose to live by listening to my creative impulses rather than worshipping fear or time.

Choosing to live led me to found Transcending Cancer in 2019 to contribute my talents as a coach to supporting others to live consciously through their cancer journey.

Through word of mouth, I tapped into a cancer community that is often invisible.  Some people living with cancer are more than survivors—they are thrivers. They embrace cancer as the catalyst to become the most authentic and powerful version of themselves. 

I wanted to share what I’d discovered with cancer thrivers with a wider community, including the family and supporters of those with a diagnosis, who are also living with cancer. I also learned that cancer thrivers have a thirst for wisdom outside my field of mastery, such as for complementary medicines, holistic nutrition, functional exercise, and creative writing. 

I knew I needed to embrace a bigger idea for Transcending Cancer to evolve. 

Today, with Petrina, and our growing team of teachers and co-visionaries, Transcending Cancer is building its vision. We are creating programs that support more people to live consciously with cancer across every life structure, including physical health and wellbeing, relationships, livelihood, beliefs, finances, community, and spirituality.

We know first-hand how cancer challenges you to stay conscious. And we know that a lot of the support that comes your way is anything but conscious.

We can support you by connecting you with empowered teachings and an inspired community.  We invite you to join us on this journey to empowerment, inner freedom, and consciousness—not in spite of cancer, but because of cancer.

- Dr Shieak Tzeng