What I enjoy most about working in oncology is just how individualized the care is. It’s easy to assign a label to someone’s disease; on paper, a person may have colon cancer or pancreatic cancer. But what that paper can’t necessarily capture is that nobody’s disease experience is exactly the same. Treatment plans, responses to treatment and goals of care differ from one person to the next. Some people have really strong support systems at home, while others don’t, and in that case, we try to help fulfill that role. There is no cookie-cutter case or approach in oncology. It’s really special to play a role in personalizing care for each patient and family.
Several years ago, a friend of mine was diagnosed with colon cancer at a young age, and she eventually passed away from it. Visiting her frequently, I got a real behind-the-scenes look at what patients go through when they leave the clinic. Rather than seeing the labs and the treatments, I saw how she felt when she got home from treatment and when she had to gear up for another test or scan. I witnessed the emotional toll of it all and the strength she summoned to get through it. Being on the other side of this process reinforced my desire to help make patients’ day-to-day experiences, whether at home or in the clinic, as good as possible. I think that begins with acknowledging and prioritizing their goals as well as understanding the unique impact of cancer on their lives.
Area of Clinical Practice
My first experience in oncology was as a researcher. I studied kidney cancer, and although I loved the science, I realized that I wanted to be on the front lines of cancer care rather than behind a lab bench. During physician assistant training, my two areas of focus were oncology and gastrointestinal (GI) diseases, and at Fred Hutch, I’m able to combine those two interests. Currently, I work with the colorectal surgery team and the GI medical oncology team, seeing patients with a variety of diagnoses from esophageal cancer to colon cancer, among many others.
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Texas Southwestern
Physician Assistant, 2018, National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants
We make promising new treatments available to you through studies called clinical trials led by Fred Hutch physicians. Many of these trials at Fred Hutch have led to FDA-approved treatments and have improved standards of care globally. Together, you and your physician can decide if a study is right for you.
At Fred Hutch, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes physicians, a patient care coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like registered dietitians, social workers, acupuncturists, psychiatrists and more who specialize in supporting people with cancer or blood disorders.
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