Dec 01, 2017 11:00 AM

Author: Alyssa Geisler


My family will tell you I am a dog person. We only have four dogs right now at home.

I’m a professor in the School of Medicine and I have kind of a variety of jobs. I’m an oncologist who specializes in both breast and GYN—or gynecologic—cancers. I also run the palliative care program here at Huntsman. It’s called Supportive Oncology and Survivorship.

“Supportive Oncology and Survivorship—what is that?”

Supportive oncology or palliative care really is a type of service where we try to help support patients who are struggling with any kind of serious illness and in our case it’s cancer. Generally we’re here to help improve their quality of life, ‘cause cancer’s tough and the treatments are tough and sometimes you just need to have somebody who’s focusing just on your quality of life. 

“What is the best part about working at Huntsman Cancer Institute?”

The best parts are the relationships that you build, the relationships with your patients. It goes without saying that those can be very rich and rewarding regardless of the outcome. It’s the journey that matters. Everybody has that same philosophy of, number one, we’re going to do the best thing that we can for our patients and number two, we’re going to also enjoy this and make sure that we take the time to appreciate the things that are good and going well.

“Tell us about your four-legged loves at home.”

three dogs look up at the photographer

My family will tell you I am a dog person. We only have four dogs right now. We have a miniature schnauzer named Louis and we have a yellow lab named Paris and a white boxer named Bucky. Tails, no tails, long hair, short hair, we do it all.

“We heard medicine runs in your family.”

Anna Beck with her daughter

The next oldest is a freshman in the medical school here at the University of Utah. I have to brag on her because my mother also is a doctor so she will be the third generation female physician in our family. I don’t know any other family that has that, so it’s kind of bragging rights so I unearth them whenever I can.

“What have you learned from your patients?”

You know, I’m a cancer survivor myself so I actually have learned a lot from my patients because I had all these wonderful role models as I was going through my own cancer journey. Oftentimes when I’d feel lost or hopeless I would think back to some of my patients and how they managed to successfully handle this crisis. Now that I’m back in the practice again, I can also relate to some of the fears and worries that they may have that they're not willing to share.


Alyssa Geisler

Huntsman Cancer Institute
alyssa.geisler@hci.utah.edu

talks with docs breast cancer gynecologic cancer survivorship cancer care

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