Dr. Sagun Shrestha
Medical Oncology, Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Southwestern Regional Medical Center
[dropcap]Dr.[/dropcap] Sagun Shrestha serves as the medical oncology director of pharmacy and therapeutics and the program director for the medical oncology fellowship at Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Southwestern Regional Medical Center in Tulsa.
She shares that cancer can be treated like a chronic disease and not a terminal illness.
“With decades of research and advancements in the field of oncology, there is a range of new options from targeted drugs, immunotherapy and mapping of the cancer genome, which has helped us to improve so many patients’ quality of life during their cancer care,” Dr. Shrestha says. “Adding palliative care with active cancer treatment early on has helped many of our patients at Cancer Treatment Centers of America experience better outcomes and an improved quality of life.”
She adds that in the last decade, more than 60 anticancer drugs have been approved by the FDA.
“In the last few years, researchers have been successful in understanding tumor biology, how genes are treated and a whole range of new, molecularly targeted drugs that have changed the way we treat cancer,” Dr. Shrestha says. “The successful discovery of antibody immunotherapies to treat cancer – especially melanoma and lung cancer – is remarkable. Also in the last decade, the first cancer prevention vaccine has been approved: Gardasil for cervical cancer. With all of these new advancements in the field of oncology, it makes the outlook of cancer very encouraging – not just for the patients, but for treating oncologists like me.”
Dr. Shrestha also notes the importance of screening guidelines for cancer. Tests such as mammograms and colonoscopies help in diagnosing and treating cancer in the early stages, which potentially offers a better outcome than being diagnosed in later stages. – Rebecca Fast