COMMENTARY

An Oncologist With Cancer: Mark Lewis Shares Unique Viewpoint

Mark A. Lewis, MD

Disclosures

July 31, 2019

This transcript has been edited for clarity.

I am Mark Lewis, a medical oncologist and the director of gastrointestinal oncology at Intermountain Healthcare in Utah. Today I'm answering the question, why am I joining Medscape as a commentator?

I'll give you a two-part response. First, in the modern era, we have a problem—too much information. In some ways, it's a nice problem to have. There are so many studies and novel findings being released via the peer-reviewed literature and through social media channels, that no one person can reasonably be expected to absorb and digest all of this information. And so I rely on my peers to curate information for me that they find interesting. That allows me to then study it in some detail; decide whether it is meaningful to me and my patients; and then, in turn, to disseminate what I think is most relevant.

Now, I realize that this chorus of voices in oncology threatens to disintegrate into a cacophony if we're not careful about who we listen to. So why should you care about my voice? You may not like what I have to say or how I say it. But the second part of my answer is that, regardless of my content, I hope I can bring authenticity to this platform, because I am a patient as well.

About 2 years ago, I underwent the Whipple surgery, which is a major operation on the pancreas. In my case, it was performed to remove a tumor growing there that was threatening to spread to my liver. As it happens, I'm in the midst of my 2-year follow-up, a series of scans and labs and scopes that will determine whether I need active treatment, or whether I can continue in the privileged position of surveillance.

For me, this is a family affair. I got into oncology because my father died when I was 14 years old. It turns out that his ultimate cause of death was a heritable tumor syndrome, which he passed on to me, and which I have in turn passed on to my son. So, as an oncologist, a patient, and a parent, I very much care about the current state of the field; about making care that is as patient-centric as possible; and about minimizing toxicity while maximizing quality of life and longevity, for this and future generations.

I appreciate you listening to me. I hope I can update you from time to time, not so much on my own journey, but on the literature that I find most interesting, patient-centric, and central to the very human experience of being a person with cancer.

Follow Medscape on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube

Comments

3090D553-9492-4563-8681-AD288FA52ACE
Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.
Post as:

processing....