Don’t let the lab coats and scrubs fool you. Those trappings might be functional, but they camouflage one of the greatest secret weapons a medical professional can possess — the heart of a warrior.
Health Care Quarterly asked the folks on the frontlines of health care to think about their work like its a battle — because it often is. What is their biggest foe, and — most important — what are the tools in their arsenal to help stay ahead?
The ways they approach health care can stand as lessons to be remembered in our own fight for healthier lives.
I like a challenge.
Cancer is an incredibly complex group of diseases. In terms of practicing medicine, the variety that treating cancer offers me is like no other. Managing and treating patients with cancer can be a very gratifying experience, even if you can’t fully cure a patient of their disease. You can make a big impact on a patient’s life and help them in his/her most dire time of need.
For me, it’s a balance of empathy and determination that drives me each and every day.
In terms of my biggest foe — the biggest challenge is when we have to tell patients that there is no subsequent treatment option for their particular form of cancer. We see this in a variety of cancers and tumors, particularly pancreatic cancer, gastric cancer and with brain tumors like Glioblastoma. While there is a lot of intense research into those cancers and tumors, we — as a profession — haven’t found an across-the-board fix. We don’t have a magic bullet for some patients unfortunately. But, I can tell you — and especially seeing the passion poured in to research here at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada — we are working on finding that next treatment for patients.
As for my “secret weapon”: While we certainly face unique scenarios with each patient, when our backs are against the wall, we typically do have options to turn to. Whether it’s identifying a clinical trial, doing genetic analysis and sequencing of tumor, or immunotherapy, now more than ever before, more options are becoming available.