I grew up having an idea that maybe I’d like to go to medical school and become a doctor, although nobody in my immediate family had done so. Of course, cancer is a very common illness, so I was exposed to suffering from cancer while I was growing. Particularly, my beloved grandfather came to live with us when he was diagnosed with throat cancer, and this had an effect on me. I always enjoyed the precision of science and the manipulation of data. I think writing is terribly important (and my wife is a writer), but I was never going to be an English major. Asking questions and trying to solve them was really fascinating to me, from science fairs to working in high-powered labs.
I traveled back and forth between an interest in basic science research and clinical medicine. Ultimately, I decided that I could do both by going to medical school. I found that I enjoyed caring for patients with a serious illness where that illness was more of a big picture problem than crashing in front of me – cancer treatment was perfect for that. I was fortunate to find the field of radiation oncology where I get to work with patients and also do clinical work behind the scenes. I also love the teamwork involved. I did my residency at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York, which was a great place to train and a really fun place to live. I came to Fox Chase in 2010, after my residency, and have been here ever since, focusing on GI cancer patients who need radiation. I’m lucky enough to be able to combine my clinical practice with research and education to make sure there’s enough variety in my week that I never get bored.