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Staying Afloat When the Floodgates Open

Aju Mathew, MD, MPhil
Published: Thursday, Jun 02, 2016
Aju Mathew, MD,
MPhil

Aju Mathew, MD, MPhil

It is quite easy to be drowned in the rising floodwaters of hematology and medical oncology, especially when you start training. As a recent graduate, I barely managed to keep my head above the water level. When I joined the hematology and oncology fellowship program at the University of Pittsburgh, I only had a faint awareness of the storm that was going to hit me—in spite of the fact that I had completed my residency training at the same institution and spent numerous rotations in the inpatient unit and ambulatory oncology clinics. I had thought that decision making in oncology seemed quite straightforward and that all I would need to do was follow the guidelines. However, that was not the case. Each patient’s cancer story was unique and the decision making had to be individualized, taking several factors into account, including an understanding of the patient’s state of health, standard-of-care treatment options, recent research, and, more importantly, patient preference.
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