By: Debra Patt, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A
Today is Doctor’s Day. It is a day where we celebrate and appreciate the doctors in our lives that help to make a difference.
As a doctor, I can tell you that there is no better profession. As a breast cancer specialist, I get the honor and privilege of seeing so many patients through one of the toughest times of their lives, and I get to help to make it better by keeping our eye on the ball. I get to help guide and direct their path to reduce their risk, improve their outcome, and help them live healthier lives. I get to work with a talented team in my office—my partners in Texas Oncology, our talented nurses and other healthcare providers as well as ancillary staff to facilitate the complexity of supporting patients through cancer care.
While all of this would be a privilege in any era, we live in a time of tremendous discovery and innovation in cancer care. In the last decade therapeutic advances in cancer medicine have evolved to such a degree that women who would have previously died relatively quickly of metastatic disease now can live with cancer as a chronic disease with a high quality of life as they live to see their lives move forward, their children grow, and their milestones accomplished. Research cures cancer.
While advances in cancer therapeutics give us remarkable optimism of how we can fight cancer, advances in risk prediction, appropriate screening, and early detection have also dramatically enhanced survivorship.
In fact, cancer mortality has decreased by 1.5% every year for the last decade.
Of course, we as doctors like to think of ourselves as the quarterbacks, but we don’t play on the team alone. We need many partners to provide good care—collaborating physicians, hospitals, navigators, social workers, nurses, physical therapists, financial counselors, medical assistants, administrative staff, caregivers, family and friends. We need patients to have access to the screening, diagnostic, and therapeutic services they need, which is more limited in Texas than in other states due to a large un-insured and under-insured population.
For doctors day I am grateful for my patients and my teammates, those who make it possible for my patients to have a good outcome. I am grateful to Susan G. Komen® Austin for the $11 million dollars they have put in to my community here in Austin to fund local community organizations that support cancer care and to help provide screening, diagnostic, and therapeutic services to patients in need. 75% of funds dispersed from Komen Austin goes to support funding locally. The other 25% goes to support national research to help advance treatments in this disease.
Thank you Dr. Patt and all other doctors that have helped Komen Austin through our journey to keep fighting breast cancer. Happy Doctor’s Day!