Vital Visions: The Vedala Brothers Podcast

5: Confronting Cancer: Oncology Insights

September 07, 2023 Norman Regional Health System Season 1 Episode 5
Vital Visions: The Vedala Brothers Podcast
5: Confronting Cancer: Oncology Insights
Show Notes Transcript

On this week’s episode, Shari Jones, MD, PhD, joins the doctors to talk about Oncology and Hematology. Dr. Jones of OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center at Norman Regional, talks to Dr. Krishna and Dr. Veer about the importance of screenings, cancer prevalence, treatment and more. We thank Dr. Jones for sharing her knowledge and expertise in Hematology and Oncology with our Vital Visions listeners!

Guest Bio:
Shari Jones, MD, PhD, specializes in the following types of cancer:

  • Breast
  • Colorectal
  • Hodgkin's Lymphoma
  • Kidney
  • Leukemia
  • Lung
  • Melanoma
  • Multiple Myelomga
  • Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
  • Prostate

Dr. Jones has a PhD in microbiology from the University of Oklahoma. She also received the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award which recognizes graduating students who demonstrate both clinical excellence and outstanding compassion in the delivery of care and who show respect for patients, their families, and healthcare colleagues.

A career in oncology was an easy choice for Dr. Jones.

“I knew right away in medical school while on rotation in oncology that this would be the field for me,” said Dr. Jones. “I love taking care of people. Also, with all the clinical advances in the field it was natural for me and tailors towards my scientific background.”

Dr. Jones is passionate about patient-centered care and education.

“The field of oncology is heading toward personalized medicine where we individualize therapy based on a patient’s tumor biology instead of giving everyone the same therapy as what was done in the past. This is very exciting!”

Helping patients feel comfortable and limiting their stress and anxiety is a priority to Dr. Jones.

“I believe that patients do better during therapy if they understand their disease and treatment. I will spend time with patients to explain every step and what to expect. I will listen to their concerns with the hope that they go home feeling at ease thereby eliminating any confusion or frustration.”

Dr. Jones wants her patients to know she is dedicated to their care.

“I am committed to finding the best therapy for them and to helping get them through treatment. I will help to provide support so that they don’t feel alone through the process.”

Dr. Jones was born and raised in Norman and has lived there for the last 15 years. In her spare time she enjoys playing with her children, traveling and gardening.

Links:
Shari Jones, MD, PhD
Norman Regional Cancer Care
Blog - OU, Norman Regional Partner for New Cancer Center
Blog -  OU Health Begins Operating the Medical Oncology Clinic and Infusion

This podcast is for educational purposes only. The information in this show is not to be used as medical advice. If you are needing medical care, please consult with your physician.

Norman Regional is hiring! See all our open opportunities here:
https://careers.normanregional.com/careers-home/

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Welcome, friends.

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This is DR’s Krishna and Veer Vedala.

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And we are the Vedala Bros.

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We are delighted to bring you
our brand new podcast, Vital Visions.

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So in this podcast, we'll be discussing
important medical topics

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that affect your community.

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We'll be looking into medical research
Health and wellness tips

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and also available health

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care resources brought to you
by the Norman Regional Health System.

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That's right.

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And in each episode, we'll also be joined
by medical professionals,

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local community leaders
and even some of our friendly neighbors

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as we talk through various issues
that are affecting our community.

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So if you want to lead healthy lives
or learn about the new healthy trends,

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we want this podcast
to be your go to resource.

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as we progress in medicine,

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there is always a word that provides

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a bit of fear with us and our families.

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Starts with a C, and that is cancer.

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Um, many strides
have been made in medicine, but

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this is a disease
that affects any part of the body and

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many strides have been made in medicine,
but cancer

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still remains a leading cause of death
in the United States.

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And it's such an important topic
to discuss to do that today

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on our Vital Visions podcast,
we have a very special guest with us

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Krishna
do you want to introduce, her. Yes, I do.

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Um, it is an honor and a privilege
for me to introduce, uh, Dr.

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Shari Jones,
uh, one of our hematology oncologists.

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I've known Dr.

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Jones for almost seven years now.

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Way back when I was in medical school.

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Uh, and I have to say,
since then, there's been very few people

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that I've come to know
that is as caring and as passionate

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when it comes to medicine
and also taking care of her patients.

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And so without any further ado, uh, 
guest, uh, it is my honor to introduce Dr.

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Shari Jones. Aw thank you for that introduction. 

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Ye. So, Dr.

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Jones, please tell us a little bit
about a little bit about yourself.

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Well, uh, I'm an M.D., Ph.D.

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I spent too many years in school,
I guess, and, uh,

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kind of just fell in love with oncology.

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I thought I'd remain an academic physician
and stay at OU forever.

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And fortunately for me, an opportunity
opened at Norman Regional.

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One of the doctors, or oncologists
was retiring and I took a chance

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and it was one of the best moves
I could have ever done.

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Um, now with this partnership
with Norman Regional and OU Health,

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Stephenson Cancer Center,
I make the joke that I can't escape. OU.

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And now I have two bosses,
so it's been great.

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Yeah. We have that in common, Dr. Jones.

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Um, so

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I think a great place to start
would be to, like, in simple terms,

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can you describe to our listeners
what exactly cancer is?

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Because for our patients, trying
to get that fundamental understanding

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can kind of help us move on
with our discussion today.

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Yeah, cancer affects so many people
and sometimes people think, well,

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you know, I've been healthy all my life

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or I don't have a family history of cancer
and then of cancer affects them.

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They're they're left wondering why.

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But essentially what cancer is, is
a mutation that happens in the DNA.

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Your genetic code at the molecular level.

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And most cancers are sporadic,

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which means, you know,
everybody has a genetic predisposition.

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You get 50% of chromosomes
from mom, 50% from dad,

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and then over time, there can be mutations
in the DNA machinery.

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And now the cell isn't behaving
like a normal cell.

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It it's behaving like a cancerous cell.

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So it's dividing uncontrollably.

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And some cancers are more aggressive,
unfortunately, than others.

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You know, there are some low grade
types of breast cancer.

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Prostate cancer, for the most part,
tends to be less aggressive.

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But there are a lot of lung cancers.

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You know, acute leukemias,
of course, high grade lymphomas,

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that that can be very aggressive.

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So we, you know, tell patients

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to lead a healthy lifestyle,
and that means limiting

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your exposure to carcinogens.

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A major one in Oklahoma is smoking.

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There's a 45% risk of developing lung

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cancer with smoking, which we don't see
that with anything else.

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And, um, and we do see a lot of lung
cancer in Oklahoma.

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So it's not the most common cancer,
but it's the leading cause of morbidity

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and mortality for, for our cancers
as far as that goes.

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Um, cancer
screenings, important for patients.

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So if people are smoking,
they need a, you know, a CT

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scan or a CAT scan of the chest once a year.

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I can't tell you how many conversations,
I don't know about you guys

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that I have with patients,
and they say oh I am never going to get cancer.

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I don't want to do that.

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So early detection,
especially for the solid tumors, is key.

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For us females and mammograms
starting at the age of 40

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and then once every year,
you know, for their lifetime to to detect

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breast cancer, which is very common
in females, affects one out of eight

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women

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PSAs in men at older age things like that.

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Colonoscopies, they used to be recommended
starting at age 50, Now it's 45 or so.

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Yeah, that's you know,
those are great things that we can do.

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Unfortunately, there's not a general test,
you know, to screen for cancer.

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And I think there's a lot of misconception
out there with

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with these test kits
that are out and people will say,

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oh, you know,
I did these DNA tests to look for cancer.

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And it's like, well...

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I don't know how you guys handle that
in clinic, but, um.

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Well, we try to just, uh, you know, uh,

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kind of sit them down
and sort of educate them and tell them,

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you know, at the end of the day, it's
not just the DNA

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Test behind it.

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But we do.

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Veer and I do place
a great emphasis on screening.

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And thank you so much for going over
some of those screening.

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Uh, yeah, really appreciate that.

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Um, uh,
but the thing is, is one of the questions

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I just wanted to ask you is again, just
to kind of let our general audience know

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who are oncologists
and what is it that they do?

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Yeah, so oncologists are doctors
that treat cancers.

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So, um, you know, people have are most

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common types of cancer,
breast cancer and colon cancer.

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You know, a lot of times
you see the surgeon

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and then you see the oncologist.

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Sometimes you need chemotherapy
and radiation

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after treatment,
so we help to administer that.

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We also do surveillance for cancer.

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So if somebody has had breast
cancer or colon cancer, it was stage

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one, two or three.

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We helped to facilitate
ordering blood test and imaging and

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and making sure that someone is still in
remission.

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We're also hematologists.

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And so a lot of times we'll get referrals

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for just anemia
or iron deficiency in patients.

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You know, kind of get a little bit scared
because they're saying,

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well, why do I need to be seen in a
in an oncologist's office?

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And so we're you know,

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I tell my patients I'm 50% oncologist
and 50% hematologist. So

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we do a little bit of everything

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with the blood, you know,
if it's malignant or benign blood clots.

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So everything like that.

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So yeah, and I made that mistake

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occasionally when I would explain
to my patients with anemia, I'd be like,

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Well, we're going to send you
to the cancer doctor.

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And they would get very anxious
and like this.

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And I Oh, no, no, no, no, no.

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They do both,
just so you guys know. And we try. We try.

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So they're far better
with blood than we are.

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Yeah, that makes.

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That makes sense.

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Um, Dr. Jones

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I had actually an interesting
thought you were just mentioning it, and.

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And I wanted to get your opinion on it.

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We're actually seeing the guidelines,
at least in primary care realm of cancer

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screening starting earlier, like,
you know,

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lung cancer screening used to be 55,
and now it's 50, and now it's only 20.

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Pack your history.

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And then colon cancer is 45,
like you said.

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Do you think the prevalence of cancer
is increasing?

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And that's why

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we're
pulling back guidelines a little bit?

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I, it's hard to say.

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Um, it's hard to say, but I think,
you know, we're we're living longer.

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We're doing more studies.

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Our detections are getting better,
our technology is getting better.

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So that's probably why it's it's driving
that.

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But, you know, I hear some people ask me,
do you think there's

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something in the water or
with cell phones or computers?

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And I don't know. But,

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um, so yeah.

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No, that makes that makes sense.

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We have more information and we're being more careful.
Yes. Yes, yes, yes.

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I think that that's provide some
reassurance for our patients out there

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for asking that question. Yeah, it does.

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Um, but I mean, one of the things
that I've always wondered is, you know,

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one point in my life
I wanted to do oncology too,

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Uh, and, and I decided
and I decided not to

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because my wife was very adamant
that we no longer do school together.

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So, um, but what inspired you,
um, to become an oncology

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and what keeps
you motivated on a daily basis?

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I, uh, I love the field of oncology.

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I feel very fortunate that I knew
early on that that's what I wanted to do.

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And, you know, your pathology courses,
second year of medical school and,

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um, the physician flashed the bone marrow
and you know that, that was it for me.

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I just, you know, I,
I gravitated towards that.

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The other side with oncology, it's, it's

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heavily
based on genetics and molecular biology.

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Most of the MD. PHD’s.

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I think go in to hematology, oncology,

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it's changing

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almost on a daily basis
and I'm not embellishing that.

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You know,
some doctors ask us and kind of frown upon

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all the advances in the sense
that how do you stay up or keep up to date

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with with all the advances
of different types of cancers?

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And we just do you know
and I think our patients help to motivate

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and drive us.

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Uh, there's
nothing worse than a cancer diagnosis,

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but it's also the best feeling
when you can treat that and or cure.

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Yeah.

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Um, the most gratifying thing
is, you know,

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is, is getting rid of the cancer and it,
not coming back.

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And we have patients with stage
four cancers, renal cell

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cancer, melanoma, colon cancer
that are in remissions.

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And it's just, it's fascinating. Yeah.

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And wonderful.

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So, um, we care a lot about our patients.

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I think the group that I work with,
I feel very fortunate.

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Uh, you know, it's, it's a unique group.

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Um, we're all like a family,
and I think we kind of treat our patients

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like that, too.

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And that's the whole oncology staff
from the infusion

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nurses to the clinic nurses,
um, to, to the physician.

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So I don't know. I just. I love it.

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Well, we're, we're

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glad that that you,
you and your colleagues

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in the oncology department are able
to really do this on a daily basis.

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00:11:15,538 --> 00:11:20,638
It does, uh, provide a lot of support
for primary care physicians,

212
00:11:20,704 --> 00:11:24,171
you know, specifically when,
when it comes to explaining

213
00:11:24,171 --> 00:11:25,737
the various chemotherapy regimens.

214
00:11:25,737 --> 00:11:28,170
And I and I am still surprised

215
00:11:28,170 --> 00:11:31,503
about how you guys still are able
to keep up to date with

216
00:11:31,503 --> 00:11:34,670
all the new medicines that keep coming in
and all the clinical trials.

217
00:11:34,670 --> 00:11:37,503
That's always
just really just really impressive.

218
00:11:37,503 --> 00:11:39,269
It's a lot. Yeah. It is a lot.

219
00:11:39,269 --> 00:11:42,302
And even as a new provider here,
I think the availability

220
00:11:42,302 --> 00:11:46,135
you guys offered for us to ask
questions has been so it's been invaluable

221
00:11:46,202 --> 00:11:50,102
and we can’t appreciate you enough for that
because yeah, just ahh being able

222
00:11:50,102 --> 00:11:52,601
to tiger text you guys and be like,
Hey, here's what I've got.

223
00:11:52,601 --> 00:11:53,835
Yeah, what do you recommend?

224
00:11:53,835 --> 00:11:56,234
And I'm like, Yeah,
bring them in. We'll take that.

225
00:11:56,234 --> 00:11:57,034
That's literally what you said.

226
00:11:57,034 --> 00:11:58,067
Like, Oh, we’ll work 'em in.

227
00:11:58,067 --> 00:12:01,734
And that, that I think is invaluable.

228
00:12:01,867 --> 00:12:05,134
Um, and it helps us in primary care a lot
and so we appreciate that.

229
00:12:05,134 --> 00:12:06,633
 Oh good. I'm happy to hear that.

230
00:12:06,633 --> 00:12:10,000
It's a huge sigh of relief to know that

231
00:12:10,066 --> 00:12:13,599
we have somebody that we can turn to
and someone that has her back.

232
00:12:13,599 --> 00:12:15,633
That's a
that's a big sigh of relief for us.

233
00:12:15,633 --> 00:12:16,766
So, yeah.

234
00:12:16,766 --> 00:12:18,832
At Norman Regional we're all healers.
Yeah.

235
00:12:18,832 --> 00:12:20,165
We’re a team.
Yeah.

236
00:12:20,165 --> 00:12:23,465
Um, speaking of what you said, do you like

237
00:12:23,532 --> 00:12:26,665
what do you think are like
it been like the newest advancements?

238
00:12:26,898 --> 00:12:32,198
Oh, you know immunotherapy was was so huge,

239
00:12:32,264 --> 00:12:34,864
it just changed the landscape

240
00:12:34,864 --> 00:12:39,330
oncology
and it started maybe over a decade ago.

241
00:12:39,330 --> 00:12:43,830
You know, I remember being a resident,
having these crazy oncologists

242
00:12:43,897 --> 00:12:45,896
have these patients admitted.

243
00:12:45,896 --> 00:12:48,496
And yeah, it's like, what are these drugs?

244
00:12:48,496 --> 00:12:50,329
Yervoy and KEYTRUDA.

245
00:12:50,329 --> 00:12:53,296
So, you know,
they've been around for over a decade now.

246
00:12:53,296 --> 00:12:56,296
It started in melanoma then

247
00:12:56,296 --> 00:13:00,962
and now it's used in in kidney cancer,
sometimes in colon cancer.

248
00:13:00,962 --> 00:13:04,695
We've started using it for triple
negative breast cancer. Wow.

249
00:13:04,795 --> 00:13:08,894
And the reason why we love it so much
is because the side effect profile

250
00:13:08,894 --> 00:13:11,994
is so much better than chemotherapy.

251
00:13:11,994 --> 00:13:13,127
You know it, 

252
00:13:13,127 --> 00:13:16,294
As an oncologist,
we don't like to make our patients sick.

253
00:13:16,527 --> 00:13:18,160
We want to get them better.

254
00:13:18,160 --> 00:13:20,427
And, you know, sometimes,

255
00:13:20,427 --> 00:13:22,726
especially
if you're older or you're frail,

256
00:13:22,726 --> 00:13:26,359
and if you have to go through
chemotherapy, it can be really tough.

257
00:13:26,359 --> 00:13:29,492
Um, you know, some people, of course,
do better than others, but

258
00:13:29,492 --> 00:13:34,292
with immunotherapy,
for the most part, 99% of people do great.

259
00:13:34,325 --> 00:13:36,392
That's great. And that's wonderful.

260
00:13:36,392 --> 00:13:39,725
And, and, you know, and they come
in, they're happy, they're not sick.

261
00:13:39,992 --> 00:13:42,125
And then,
you know, you treat their cancer.

262
00:13:42,125 --> 00:13:45,924
So having that available, um,

263
00:13:46,024 --> 00:13:50,357
you know, cancer's moving all towards
personalized medicine

264
00:13:50,357 --> 00:13:53,357
where we don't treat every individual
the same.

265
00:13:53,557 --> 00:13:58,623
But we do so much molecular tests,
you know,

266
00:13:58,690 --> 00:14:02,689
and depending on the type of cancer,
but for solid tumors,

267
00:14:02,789 --> 00:14:05,889
you know, to get a profile
on the tumor itself.

268
00:14:05,889 --> 00:14:10,755
And so sometimes people are candidates
for what we call targeted therapy,

269
00:14:10,822 --> 00:14:14,155
you know, so chemotherapy is just,
you know, cytotoxic therapy

270
00:14:14,155 --> 00:14:18,655
that's supposed to target a rapidly
dividing cell but can get any cell

271
00:14:18,755 --> 00:14:19,955
and gets the good cells, too.

272
00:14:19,955 --> 00:14:22,821
But with targeted therapy
has a specific target

273
00:14:22,821 --> 00:14:26,954
and people, you know,
they might have some side effects but

274
00:14:27,021 --> 00:14:29,587
not hair loss and

275
00:14:29,587 --> 00:14:33,153
you know, not not all the side effects
that that you expect with chemotherapy.

276
00:14:33,153 --> 00:14:37,253
So it's it's moving more towards that.

277
00:14:37,253 --> 00:14:40,253
And we're seeing a lot more

278
00:14:40,353 --> 00:14:43,819
treatment options as far as targeted
therapy goes, immunotherapy

279
00:14:43,819 --> 00:14:47,719
being used, you know,
for to treat other types of cancers.

280
00:14:47,719 --> 00:14:52,952
And, um, for the blood cancers
because those are their own unique.

281
00:14:53,018 --> 00:14:53,585
Yeah.

282
00:14:53,585 --> 00:14:57,451
And kind of have this special place
in my heart I don't know

283
00:14:57,518 --> 00:15:00,651
you but you, but we used to like them one day.

284
00:15:00,851 --> 00:15:02,784
Some. Days ago. Yes.

285
00:15:02,784 --> 00:15:03,251
I did.

286
00:15:03,251 --> 00:15:08,517
I did have something called CAR-T therapy
or chimeric antigen therapy.

287
00:15:08,517 --> 00:15:11,683
So, you know, there are something called
stem cell transplants

288
00:15:11,683 --> 00:15:15,583
or bone marrow
transplants for people who have leukemias,

289
00:15:15,683 --> 00:15:17,683
Lymphomas, multiple myelomas.

290
00:15:17,683 --> 00:15:19,949
And so we're starting to use
CAR-T therapy.

291
00:15:19,949 --> 00:15:24,382
And and they've been doing that up at OU
in Oklahoma City over the last year.

292
00:15:24,382 --> 00:15:26,215
And we've had patients go through it.

293
00:15:26,215 --> 00:15:27,382
And it's wonderful.

294
00:15:27,382 --> 00:15:28,382
It's great.

295
00:15:28,382 --> 00:15:31,415
So it's it's been very beneficial.

296
00:15:31,415 --> 00:15:33,215
And people have gotten through remission with that?

297
00:15:33,215 --> 00:15:35,348
Yeah, and stayed in remission.

298
00:15:35,348 --> 00:15:38,647
Wow. Yeah, I didn’t know that. I know.

299
00:15:38,714 --> 00:15:39,781
That's amazing.

300
00:15:39,781 --> 00:15:41,281
Well, since you mentioned OU.

301
00:15:41,281 --> 00:15:43,380
Yeah. Um, one of the things that.

302
00:15:43,380 --> 00:15:46,480
That we're really excited about here
is the partnership between OU Stevenson

303
00:15:46,480 --> 00:15:48,547
Cancer Research Center and Norman Regional.

304
00:15:48,547 --> 00:15:52,913
And we were wondering if you could just
sort of give us a few details

305
00:15:52,913 --> 00:15:57,212
about what it is and what it, what is it
that we can expect from this partnership.

306
00:15:57,479 --> 00:16:00,779
And what resources our patients can expect
to have closer to home...

307
00:16:00,845 --> 00:16:01,712
Yes, okay.

308
00:16:01,712 --> 00:16:04,345
Well, we just partnered with them January

309
00:16:04,345 --> 00:16:08,978
23rd, 2023, and I think,

310
00:16:09,045 --> 00:16:12,978
you know, the management at Norman
Regional really had a vision

311
00:16:12,978 --> 00:16:17,177
with Inspire Health
and and oncology was was one of those.

312
00:16:17,177 --> 00:16:21,077
And since it affects so many people,
you know, we want to keep our patients

313
00:16:21,077 --> 00:16:26,010
closer to home and so they were really
the drivers in in this

314
00:16:26,043 --> 00:16:32,043
and so it just made sense for OU,
you know especially being here in Norman

315
00:16:32,109 --> 00:16:33,909
for for that partnership to occur.

316
00:16:33,909 --> 00:16:37,609
So it's been several years in the making,
you know, that they've been working

317
00:16:37,609 --> 00:16:42,475
hard on it and and it's been going well.

318
00:16:42,475 --> 00:16:46,575
The partnership, you know,
I came from Stevenson Cancer Center

319
00:16:46,641 --> 00:16:50,974
and a couple of the other doctors
that I work with are from OU.

320
00:16:51,041 --> 00:16:55,307
So, you know, we have great working
relationships with the doctors there.

321
00:16:55,407 --> 00:16:58,473
It's very nice for our patients

322
00:16:58,473 --> 00:17:02,406
that they don't have to travel up
to Stevenson Cancer Center

323
00:17:02,406 --> 00:17:06,606
in Oklahoma City, though
we're still maintaining our practice.

324
00:17:06,606 --> 00:17:10,506
So, for example, in Oklahoma City,
you know, you might see

325
00:17:10,506 --> 00:17:14,505
an oncologist that just does lung
or just does GI or breast.

326
00:17:14,505 --> 00:17:18,638
You know, all of the Docs
in the practice here in Norman Regional,

327
00:17:18,705 --> 00:17:19,638
we don't pick one.

328
00:17:19,638 --> 00:17:21,905
We do it all, everything. We do it all.

329
00:17:21,905 --> 00:17:26,704
And and, you know,
we get to know our patients very closely

330
00:17:26,704 --> 00:17:28,137
but but now they can do their

331
00:17:28,137 --> 00:17:29,071
treatments here

332
00:17:29,071 --> 00:17:34,637
and not have to drive up to Oklahoma City
and in that traffic. And it 

333
00:17:34,737 --> 00:17:35,970
provides access to

334
00:17:35,970 --> 00:17:40,203
clinical trials
their palliative care services.

335
00:17:40,403 --> 00:17:45,403
Oh, one thing that's really changed is
before trying to get into a nutritionist,

336
00:17:45,469 --> 00:17:49,569
sometimes we'd send a referral and,
you know, it could take several months.

337
00:17:49,635 --> 00:17:54,002
But we've had the nutritionist
from OU in Oklahoma City, which is great.

338
00:17:54,002 --> 00:17:55,268
Her name is Jenny Witherspoon.

339
00:17:55,268 --> 00:17:57,701
She's been coming down
one time a week. Okay.

340
00:17:57,701 --> 00:17:59,701
And she gets her patients in quickly.

341
00:17:59,701 --> 00:18:03,901
And she's been very helpful
and instrumental.

342
00:18:03,901 --> 00:18:07,034
And so, you know,
sometimes when people are on chemotherapy,

343
00:18:07,067 --> 00:18:08,534
they they don't feel like eating.

344
00:18:08,534 --> 00:18:11,134
And you can get in trouble
really, really quickly.

345
00:18:11,134 --> 00:18:14,100
So that that's something that's improved.

346
00:18:14,100 --> 00:18:20,033
Um, also access to drugs OU in Oklahoma
City has their own retail pharmacy,

347
00:18:20,033 --> 00:18:23,732
so before it might take a couple months
to get authorization,

348
00:18:23,732 --> 00:18:27,599
you know, one besides having cancer
which is awful.

349
00:18:27,665 --> 00:18:32,732
The other awful aspect of
it is cost of the drugs. Yes.

350
00:18:32,798 --> 00:18:34,665
And so this partnership with O.U.

351
00:18:34,665 --> 00:18:37,664
Is is helping to lower that cost.

352
00:18:37,664 --> 00:18:40,231
And some of the drugs,
you know, they can get if I put in

353
00:18:40,231 --> 00:18:44,131
an order for an oral chemotherapy pill,
you know, I can get it.

354
00:18:44,131 --> 00:18:49,730
Maybe in 24 hours
shipped to the patient's home. Wow. So

355
00:18:49,830 --> 00:18:50,497
that's one of

356
00:18:50,497 --> 00:18:54,296
my big things because,
you know, it takes sometimes so long

357
00:18:54,296 --> 00:18:58,196
for a patient to know their symptoms
and and find the cancer.

358
00:18:58,196 --> 00:19:01,229
And then you got to get the biopsy
and you got to do the scan.

359
00:19:01,229 --> 00:19:05,395
So, you know, you might be waiting for
eight weeks and then you get the diagnosis

360
00:19:05,395 --> 00:19:07,228
and then you have to wait another four to
eight weeks.

361
00:19:07,228 --> 00:19:09,662
You're like, no,
I want to start treatment today.

362
00:19:09,662 --> 00:19:12,895
So so for me, it helps to calm me down
because we're supposed

363
00:19:12,895 --> 00:19:16,194
to be patient as physicians,
but we aren't.

364
00:19:16,294 --> 00:19:18,427
Yeah, yeah.

365
00:19:18,427 --> 00:19:20,927
And other things about the cancer center,

366
00:19:20,927 --> 00:19:24,494
it's going to be right
under 50,000 square feet.

367
00:19:24,594 --> 00:19:27,093
Two story building.

368
00:19:27,093 --> 00:19:34,093
We're going to have radiation
oncology, two linear accelerators, a PET/CT.

369
00:19:34,159 --> 00:19:37,026
There should be a tunnel that connects the

370
00:19:37,026 --> 00:19:40,725
the main hospital to the oncology clinic.

371
00:19:40,825 --> 00:19:44,992
The number of infusion chairs
which we are outgrowing

372
00:19:44,992 --> 00:19:48,091
our current space, is gonna increase.

373
00:19:48,091 --> 00:19:51,291
And the other nice thing about
it is most infusion

374
00:19:51,291 --> 00:19:54,157
centers are just one big room
with chair next to chair.

375
00:19:54,157 --> 00:19:57,357
They're still going to maintain
their their privacy and floor

376
00:19:57,357 --> 00:19:59,790
to ceiling windows.

377
00:19:59,790 --> 00:20:02,757
So it's going to be nice for patients to.

378
00:20:02,757 --> 00:20:05,756
Wow, that's awesome. Yeah. Nice view, huh?

379
00:20:05,756 --> 00:20:06,456
Nice view.

380
00:20:06,456 --> 00:20:10,123
There's a pond,
you know, that they can look out into

381
00:20:10,223 --> 00:20:15,556
and hopefully it'll be
a comfortable experience for them.

382
00:20:15,656 --> 00:20:19,422
And we're thinking this is 2025
is what we're looking at for the

383
00:20:19,422 --> 00:20:23,055
for the new building. So in the plans that I saw

384
00:20:23,155 --> 00:20:27,521
last night,
move everything over to the health plex,

385
00:20:27,521 --> 00:20:31,654
except for oncology
and radiation will will be there for you know.

386
00:20:31,721 --> 00:20:32,487
Okay. Wow.

387
00:20:32,487 --> 00:20:34,354
The rest of this year and 2024.

388
00:20:34,354 --> 00:20:35,320
But yeah.

389
00:20:35,320 --> 00:20:37,587
Excellent.
That is so exciting. Yeah. This is really.

390
00:20:37,587 --> 00:20:40,153
Going to be an
invaluable resource. I think

391
00:20:40,253 --> 00:20:42,653
the other thing is, is the management

392
00:20:42,653 --> 00:20:46,619
here at Norman Regional has really made
a commitment to oncology.

393
00:20:46,786 --> 00:20:49,819
Um, and we're expecting a new breast

394
00:20:49,819 --> 00:20:53,219
surgeon in, in August [2023] and I think

395
00:20:53,219 --> 00:20:56,785
in the opinions of a lot of people,
she's the best in the state.

396
00:20:56,985 --> 00:20:58,018
Wow. That's awesome.

397
00:20:58,018 --> 00:20:58,685
Super exciting.

398
00:20:58,685 --> 00:21:01,385
Yeah,
we're really, really excited to get her.

399
00:21:01,385 --> 00:21:01,785
Yeah.

400
00:21:01,785 --> 00:21:04,784
Big shout out to our management and
recruitment team. Yes.

401
00:21:04,884 --> 00:21:07,451
Way to go! Man. That's. That's great.

402
00:21:07,451 --> 00:21:09,084
It's fantastic. Yeah.

403
00:21:09,084 --> 00:21:11,184
So us oncologists, we're all excited.

404
00:21:11,184 --> 00:21:12,950
Yeah.

405
00:21:12,950 --> 00:21:15,017
And we're excited too, because it's, it's

406
00:21:15,017 --> 00:21:18,017
going to be a huge, uh,

407
00:21:18,083 --> 00:21:21,216
a lot of resources will be 
available to the local community and,

408
00:21:21,216 --> 00:21:23,783
and I've had a lot of patients
ask me before, Hey,

409
00:21:23,783 --> 00:21:25,483
I do get infusions at the cancer center.

410
00:21:25,483 --> 00:21:28,249
Is there any way we could do this
closer to home?

411
00:21:28,249 --> 00:21:30,949
And so now it's going to be
a lot more easier for them.

412
00:21:30,949 --> 00:21:33,415
And that is that
is that that does make a difference.

413
00:21:33,415 --> 00:21:35,448
Oh, that's a great question, too,
because now, like, will

414
00:21:35,448 --> 00:21:37,581
the infusion center will be able to do
like other infusions, too.

415
00:21:37,581 --> 00:21:38,448
Like Well.

416
00:21:38,448 --> 00:21:41,481
And so we haven't worked all that out yet.
Yeah.

417
00:21:41,648 --> 00:21:42,548
Yeah, yeah.

418
00:21:42,548 --> 00:21:46,847
But, but hopefully,
yeah, that'll be a place that they can go.

419
00:21:47,047 --> 00:21:49,914
Yeah, that's great. That's great.

420
00:21:49,914 --> 00:21:54,513
Um, well, just kind of circling back
just a little bit and talk about,

421
00:21:54,613 --> 00:21:58,579
um, cancer and resources
we have to offer and prevention.

422
00:21:58,646 --> 00:22:02,079
Um, if you could tell our patients,
like in prevention form,

423
00:22:02,079 --> 00:22:03,646
like we talked about smoking.

424
00:22:03,646 --> 00:22:06,645
Yes. As a, as a risk factor.

425
00:22:06,679 --> 00:22:10,445
But any other prevention strategies,
what the patients could do

426
00:22:10,445 --> 00:22:12,178
to kind of reduce their risk?

427
00:22:12,178 --> 00:22:16,478
And with the summer months coming up,
we see a lot of melanoma

428
00:22:16,578 --> 00:22:18,411
that affects young and old.

429
00:22:18,411 --> 00:22:23,711
And so ultraviolet radiation,
you know, and small doses can be good.

430
00:22:23,711 --> 00:22:24,644
But, you know,

431
00:22:24,644 --> 00:22:29,243
going out all day in the sun, not wearing
sunblock can be harmful, too.

432
00:22:29,243 --> 00:22:32,810
So the ultraviolet radiation
is a carcinogen.

433
00:22:32,876 --> 00:22:37,676
Um, and, you know,
you want to limit your sun exposure

434
00:22:37,676 --> 00:22:39,276
if you're going to be out in the sun
all day.

435
00:22:39,276 --> 00:22:41,676
We talk about protective layering.

436
00:22:41,676 --> 00:22:44,742
There are these great rash guards
out there now.

437
00:22:44,742 --> 00:22:50,241
And if you're going to wear sunblock,
wear it with the high SPF and reapply

438
00:22:50,308 --> 00:22:52,875
also,
I like the idea of an umbrella or a big hat.

439
00:22:52,875 --> 00:22:55,774
Yeah, you know what? My
I have two children.

440
00:22:55,774 --> 00:22:56,674
They're three and four.

441
00:22:56,674 --> 00:22:58,241
And in the summertime, guess what?

442
00:22:58,241 --> 00:22:59,974
Mom puts them in leggings.

443
00:22:59,974 --> 00:23:03,907
Yeah, the rash guards and all that. So.

444
00:23:04,007 --> 00:23:07,940
Yeah,
definitely melanoma and skin cancer. Is.

445
00:23:08,007 --> 00:23:08,973
Something we don't really have.

446
00:23:08,973 --> 00:23:12,006
Like the clear screening guidelines for.

447
00:23:12,006 --> 00:23:15,406
So it's a melanoma is a tough one,
you know that

448
00:23:15,439 --> 00:23:20,272
that's a cancer that can pop up
and uh, can hide out for many years.

449
00:23:20,405 --> 00:23:20,839
Yeah.

450
00:23:20,839 --> 00:23:21,972
Come back.

451
00:23:21,972 --> 00:23:25,405
Um, for the most part, people do okay.

452
00:23:25,405 --> 00:23:29,738
It's caught early and, and, uh,
but for some

453
00:23:29,738 --> 00:23:34,304
it can be really high risk, you know,
especially in younger folks and in males.

454
00:23:34,304 --> 00:23:38,604
So, um, we, we don't take melanoma
lightly around here.

455
00:23:38,604 --> 00:23:39,304
Yeah. Yeah.

456
00:23:39,304 --> 00:23:44,237
Um, uh, for breast cancer,
I kind of touched on it,

457
00:23:44,303 --> 00:23:47,503
touch on it again
and I have some ladies will say, Oh, well,

458
00:23:47,503 --> 00:23:51,936
you know, I had a mammogram for ten years
and it was normal.

459
00:23:51,936 --> 00:23:56,935
And then I turned 70
and I stopped, stopped getting them.

460
00:23:57,102 --> 00:24:00,435
And it's, well,
the older that you're getting, you know,

461
00:24:00,435 --> 00:24:04,935
that that's when you need to be more aware
and do more of the cancer screening.

462
00:24:04,935 --> 00:24:08,268
So it's important to do that every year.

463
00:24:08,434 --> 00:24:11,067
Um, early detection is key.

464
00:24:11,067 --> 00:24:14,800
We do see a lot of cases of advanced
colon cancer,

465
00:24:14,967 --> 00:24:18,767
you know, which could have been prevented
with a colonoscopy or advanced

466
00:24:18,767 --> 00:24:23,266
breast cancer, which could have been
prevented by doing earlier screenings.

467
00:24:23,300 --> 00:24:26,933
Um, it's also a good idea
to know your family history, right?

468
00:24:26,966 --> 00:24:28,566
Yeah, definitely, for sure.

469
00:24:28,566 --> 00:24:32,366
And so I don't think people, you know,
there's not enough discussion of,

470
00:24:32,366 --> 00:24:32,665
you know,

471
00:24:32,665 --> 00:24:39,831
what did mom and Dad have or, you know,
and so that also helps us Oncologist.

472
00:24:39,898 --> 00:24:42,065
to know family and then anything else.

473
00:24:42,065 --> 00:24:47,731
Smoking cessation is key
it's it's very hard you know there's

474
00:24:47,797 --> 00:24:51,430
there's better therapies
now than we had before.

475
00:24:51,430 --> 00:24:53,530
But um, sometimes people are reluctant

476
00:24:53,530 --> 00:24:57,330
because it's, uh, you know,
you got to change your, your habits.

477
00:24:57,363 --> 00:24:58,963
And that's hard.

478
00:24:58,963 --> 00:25:03,629
So just, you know, continuing
to have those discussions and

479
00:25:03,696 --> 00:25:06,596
I have them all the time, right?

480
00:25:06,596 --> 00:25:08,829
So one day we're going to be successful.

481
00:25:08,829 --> 00:25:09,162
You know,

482
00:25:09,162 --> 00:25:14,128
every person goes on their own pace,
so we just keep having those discussions.

483
00:25:14,128 --> 00:25:14,495
Yeah, Yeah.

484
00:25:14,495 --> 00:25:15,562
It's very interesting.

485
00:25:15,562 --> 00:25:16,695
At some point it's like,

486
00:25:16,695 --> 00:25:19,761
you know, some patients are like,
Oh yeah, I don't need it or whatever,

487
00:25:19,761 --> 00:25:21,761
but then some patients are like,
I don't want to know.

488
00:25:21,761 --> 00:25:24,161
Yeah,
because they've been smoking for so long, Right?

489
00:25:24,161 --> 00:25:25,161
Um, yeah.

490
00:25:25,161 --> 00:25:26,461
And that. Yeah.

491
00:25:26,461 --> 00:25:29,760
And there's some patients that just feel,
Well, I'm 70,

492
00:25:29,760 --> 00:25:32,793
so what am I going to benefit
from quitting smoking it, Right.

493
00:25:32,860 --> 00:25:33,060
Yeah.

494
00:25:33,060 --> 00:25:36,993
And so we've seen a mix and match
of a lot of different,

495
00:25:37,093 --> 00:25:39,293
a lot of different variety of expressions.

496
00:25:39,293 --> 00:25:42,592
Um, one cancer
and you may have touched on this,

497
00:25:42,659 --> 00:25:45,326
but I could be mistaken
that we really didn't

498
00:25:45,326 --> 00:25:48,325
I feel like talk
a whole lot about is pancreatic cancer.

499
00:25:48,392 --> 00:25:49,592
There's been a lot in the media,

500
00:25:49,592 --> 00:25:52,658
especially, I believe, with Steve Jobs and
and of course Patrick Swayze.

501
00:25:52,892 --> 00:25:53,358
Yeah.

502
00:25:53,358 --> 00:25:57,291
Um, what why is it that and this a
I was just curious

503
00:25:57,291 --> 00:26:04,057
if this is a because of media exposure
or is it really a cancer that is difficult

504
00:26:04,057 --> 00:26:07,957
or to diagnose where it's already late
by the time it's diagnosed.

505
00:26:08,023 --> 00:26:12,623
It is, pancreatic cancer is one of our most
difficult, aggressive cancers.

506
00:26:12,623 --> 00:26:17,723
A lot of times before you realize, uh,
you know, patients can be asymptomatic,

507
00:26:17,723 --> 00:26:21,622
not having any symptoms
when there's a mass in the pancreas

508
00:26:21,622 --> 00:26:26,788
sometimes, you know, and then this is
something good to touch up on, a new onset

509
00:26:26,788 --> 00:26:31,055
diabetes, um,
you know, can, can be a sign.

510
00:26:31,155 --> 00:26:36,421
But most of the times
it's caught in very advanced stage. Um,

511
00:26:36,488 --> 00:26:37,987
and the treatment is,

512
00:26:37,987 --> 00:26:42,454
is tough, you know, even if it's caught
early, you're still looking

513
00:26:42,454 --> 00:26:49,520
at an extensive surgery and also,
uh, very extensive chemotherapy.

514
00:26:49,520 --> 00:26:52,386
Now, we've gotten a little bit better

515
00:26:52,386 --> 00:26:56,086
in our treatment, but the treatment has
a lot of side effects.

516
00:26:56,186 --> 00:27:00,419
Uh, um, so it, it's not a good one,
but you mentioned something

517
00:27:00,419 --> 00:27:05,485
about Steve Jobs, and, and I think, uh,
you know, and I don't know the details

518
00:27:05,485 --> 00:27:09,685
of his cancer, but in reading some of it,
he actually declined.

519
00:27:09,751 --> 00:27:10,984
Yes, that's that is true.

520
00:27:10,984 --> 00:27:12,551
And so we have a lot of patients

521
00:27:12,551 --> 00:27:15,851
that come in nowadays
and they want alternative therapies.

522
00:27:15,884 --> 00:27:19,450
I might see two or three or four a month.

523
00:27:19,450 --> 00:27:24,183
And um, and, you know, unfortunately

524
00:27:24,250 --> 00:27:28,516
some of those therapies, you know, I've
heard about high dose vitamin C infusions,

525
00:27:28,516 --> 00:27:33,382
just natural holistic medicines,
they haven't been shown to help,

526
00:27:33,449 --> 00:27:36,282
you know, dog De-wormer.

527
00:27:36,282 --> 00:27:38,382
Oh man, I never heard of that.

528
00:27:38,382 --> 00:27:39,715
That's a new one.

529
00:27:39,715 --> 00:27:43,348
And so, um,
you know, we would offer those therapies

530
00:27:43,448 --> 00:27:46,181
if they were shown to,
to treat the cancer.

531
00:27:46,181 --> 00:27:50,181
But with Steve Jobs,
I think his was potentially still curable,

532
00:27:50,181 --> 00:27:55,247
but he had declined conventional therapy
and, and wanted to do more, uh,

533
00:27:55,314 --> 00:27:58,247
homeopathic natural type of treatment.

534
00:27:58,247 --> 00:28:01,047
So, um, you know,

535
00:28:01,047 --> 00:28:04,813
we wish we had treatments
that wouldn't make patients sick.

536
00:28:04,813 --> 00:28:06,546
You know,
we talked about the immunotherapies,

537
00:28:06,546 --> 00:28:10,012
but unfortunately for pancreatic cancer,
it's still,

538
00:28:10,079 --> 00:28:14,145
um, cytotoxic chemotherapy
and with a lot of side effects.

539
00:28:14,145 --> 00:28:17,612
So a lot of times those patients don't,
don't do well.

540
00:28:17,845 --> 00:28:18,512
Yeah.

541
00:28:18,512 --> 00:28:21,778
And speaking of alternative therapies,
what is your opinion about these, like,

542
00:28:21,778 --> 00:28:24,778
prolonged intermittent fasting things
that people are talking about

543
00:28:24,778 --> 00:28:29,477
and they're like saying it's autophagy
and can help repair cells.

544
00:28:29,577 --> 00:28:31,510
So there's no, there's.

545
00:28:31,510 --> 00:28:34,143
No clinical evidence to support that.

546
00:28:34,143 --> 00:28:38,343
Um, but I, I, uh, yeah, I've,
I've encountered that in clinic.

547
00:28:38,343 --> 00:28:41,043
Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

548
00:28:41,043 --> 00:28:43,776
It's interesting,
you know, like 72 hours of fasting.

549
00:28:43,776 --> 00:28:44,143
Yeah.

550
00:28:44,143 --> 00:28:48,009
I think it's great for weight
loss but a lot of times in our cancer patients.

551
00:28:48,009 --> 00:28:49,775
We, we don't want them to lose weight.

552
00:28:49,775 --> 00:28:52,775
That's true.
To lose their good weight, their muscle.

553
00:28:52,808 --> 00:28:57,375
We we want them to stay strong and healthy
in order to go through their treatment.

554
00:28:57,375 --> 00:29:00,374
So yeah, there's a

555
00:29:00,541 --> 00:29:05,207
there's, there's this whole other area
out there for alternative medicines,

556
00:29:05,207 --> 00:29:08,374
but unfortunately,
they haven't been shown to be beneficial.

557
00:29:08,374 --> 00:29:12,907
And so also, you know, for for those
who want those types of therapies,

558
00:29:12,907 --> 00:29:17,773
it can be tough to try
to relay that information.

559
00:29:17,840 --> 00:29:19,139
But uh, we

560
00:29:19,139 --> 00:29:22,806
here in the United States,
you know, we've, we've got great, uh,

561
00:29:23,039 --> 00:29:27,305
um, academic institutions
that run all those clinical trials at M.D.

562
00:29:27,305 --> 00:29:30,505
Anderson
Mayo Clinic, Memorial Sloan Kettering.

563
00:29:30,505 --> 00:29:34,771
And so we're very fortunate
to have that data.

564
00:29:34,838 --> 00:29:36,904
Unfortunately, the cost of the drugs

565
00:29:36,904 --> 00:29:40,471
is really expensive, but a lot of times
we can find drug assistance, too.

566
00:29:40,471 --> 00:29:41,104
And so.

567
00:29:41,104 --> 00:29:42,171
OU in Oklahoma City

568
00:29:42,171 --> 00:29:45,937
has also been instrumental
in helping us for our for our patients.

569
00:29:45,937 --> 00:29:47,870
Yeah.

570
00:29:47,870 --> 00:29:50,137
One thing that I just wanted to touch
today

571
00:29:50,137 --> 00:29:53,203
was from a primary care perspective.

572
00:29:53,203 --> 00:29:54,203
What do you think?

573
00:29:54,203 --> 00:29:56,836
Um, there are things that we can do as

574
00:29:56,836 --> 00:30:00,736
primary care physicians
to make your job easier.

575
00:30:00,836 --> 00:30:05,335
Uh, I think the communication is great
when you call or send a tiger

576
00:30:05,335 --> 00:30:10,801
text and say, Hey, I've got this patient
and I think you had sent me one with polycythemia.

577
00:30:10,868 --> 00:30:13,701
Yeah. And you already had the blood test
ordered that.

578
00:30:13,701 --> 00:30:14,934
That was fantastic.

579
00:30:14,934 --> 00:30:15,734
Mm hmm. But.

580
00:30:15,734 --> 00:30:17,367
But some don't do that.

581
00:30:17,367 --> 00:30:20,034
And so communication, I think, is key.

582
00:30:20,034 --> 00:30:24,767
You know, all of us oncologists in our
group, uh, we're always available. So.

583
00:30:24,767 --> 00:30:26,000
So we appreciate that.

584
00:30:26,000 --> 00:30:30,133
Talking to patients
like you guys do about cancer screening.

585
00:30:30,233 --> 00:30:35,166
Um, and, and I think, Yeah.

586
00:30:35,232 --> 00:30:35,766
Well, that's good.

587
00:30:35,766 --> 00:30:38,066
We will try to keep up doing that and.
We will try.

588
00:30:38,066 --> 00:30:39,265
We will continue to try.

589
00:30:39,265 --> 00:30:43,165
We always want to find something,
you know, early on, whether it's anemia or

590
00:30:43,398 --> 00:30:47,731
whatever, you know,
and let's take care of it before you know

591
00:30:47,798 --> 00:30:51,164
it becomes problematic
or their hemoglobin slides.

592
00:30:51,264 --> 00:30:51,498
Yeah.

593
00:30:51,498 --> 00:30:52,498
Um, and I think,

594
00:30:52,498 --> 00:30:55,497
you know, it's easy for us to do that
when you guys are so receptive.

595
00:30:55,531 --> 00:30:56,831
Yeah, it's very nice.

596
00:30:56,831 --> 00:30:58,030
Collegiality is and.

597
00:30:58,030 --> 00:31:00,164
That makes it easier
for us to reach out. Yeah.

598
00:31:00,164 --> 00:31:05,163
Because we know that you're open
to as asking questions and helping us out.

599
00:31:05,163 --> 00:31:07,696
So, yeah, we're, we're all workaholics.

600
00:31:07,696 --> 00:31:08,629
Yeah.

601
00:31:08,629 --> 00:31:09,763
We are. We are.

602
00:31:09,763 --> 00:31:10,129
We are.

603
00:31:10,129 --> 00:31:11,096
Everyone tiger text Dr.

604
00:31:11,096 --> 00:31:14,562
Jones!

605
00:31:14,662 --> 00:31:15,662
But thank you so much.

606
00:31:15,662 --> 00:31:17,395
And this has been so, so good.

607
00:31:17,395 --> 00:31:21,262
And so I really enjoyed
this conversation. Yeah.

608
00:31:21,328 --> 00:31:22,528
About the new cancer

609
00:31:22,528 --> 00:31:25,595
center and, uh, just,
you know, here in Norman.

610
00:31:25,628 --> 00:31:28,094
So thank you for having me on.

611
00:31:28,094 --> 00:31:28,761
No, thank you.

612
00:31:28,761 --> 00:31:32,327
Thank you so much for taking time
out of your schedule and, uh,

613
00:31:32,361 --> 00:31:33,694
being a guest for our podcast.

614
00:31:33,694 --> 00:31:38,127
We really just appreciate you being here
and answering all of our questions for us.

615
00:31:38,127 --> 00:31:38,960
Yeah it was fun.

616
00:31:38,960 --> 00:31:40,760
Thank you. Yes. Yeah.

617
00:31:40,760 --> 00:31:42,226
And so that's it, folks.

618
00:31:42,226 --> 00:31:44,126
And as always, this is Dr.

619
00:31:44,126 --> 00:31:47,126
Veer Vedala
you stay classy and. This is Dr.

620
00:31:47,126 --> 00:31:48,726
Krishna Vedala, stay out of trouble.