How long have you been a medical oncologist at Singing River Health System Regional Cancer Center?
I came to Pascagoula in 1979 as Jackson County’s first medical oncologist. There was no cancer center then. Many individuals, including physicians and administrators, worked to develop a cancer center which opened as the Singing River Health System Regional Cancer Center in 1992.
Why did you choose Singing River Health System to apply your talents?
I chose to come here because my roots are here. My parents were Pascagoula natives, and my sister and brother-in-law were in medical practice here. When I decided to go into practice, Jackson County was a natural fit.
What is available for cancer patients at Singing River Health System Regional Cancer Center?
At Singing River Health System Regional Cancer Center, we have state-of-the-art therapy available for all different types of cancers. We have partnerships with tertiary centers for such things as acute leukemia and bone marrow transplantation. We have an active clinical trials program which brings research and access to experimental drugs to the community.
What advancements in cancer care have been the most notable to you over the years?
The number of treatable cancers has been extended tremendously, successful surgery has become less invasive, techniques and radiation have been more precise. Most recently, the advances in immunotherapy are very exciting.
What plans can patients expect to see in the future at the Singing River Health System Regional Cancer Center?
We will continue to advance cancer treatment through the clinical trials program. We are improving our program for assisting cancer survivors, and we are adding staff to improve access to cancer care for the community.
How does being named a Fellow of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine relate to your role as a medical oncologist?
Unfortunately, not all of our patients are cured, and those patients need our care. This led me to an interest in symptom management at the end-of-life. For this reason I became certified in hospice and palliative medicine. I have been recently named Fellow of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, reflecting my interest in comfort care of patients with all life-limiting diseases.
What advice would you give to someone recently diagnosed with cancer?
Listen to your doctor and get his or her advice. Cancer is not a “cured” or “fatal” disease anymore. At Singing River Health System Regional Cancer Center, our staff can help guide you through some of the difficult decisions you may need to make.