Duke Cancer Institute Notes
Published: Apr. 10, 2007
Updated: Apr. 2, 2010
By Dan George, MD
My decision to become an oncologist evolved during my training. I first came to Duke in the mid 1980s as a pre-med major. Then, while in residency at Johns Hopkins University, I thought I would be a cardiologist.
But just as I was applying to training programs, I completed an elective rotation in medical oncology. The work with prostate cancer patients got me hooked. I loved bringing new scientific concepts to patients.
Since then, I’ve worked with prostate cancer patients and patients with genitourinary cancers involving the kidney or bladder.
I came back to Duke in 2003 after spending a number of years as a clinician and researcher at Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Johns Hopkins.
My days at Duke are pretty packed. Tuesdays and Thursdays are non-stop in the clinic seeing patients from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The rest of my time is filled conducting clinical research or performing administrative duties.
I work with a great team of nurses and coordinators. Most of my patients have prostate cancer; others have kidney or other types of cancer.
I enjoy educating patients about their condition. I believe it’s important for patients to understand their cancer and the possible procedures to treat it.
Unlike many other types of cancer, prostate cancer can be a chronic disease. Often, this is the first time that a patient has had to deal with a chronic condition so teaching the patient is absolutely important.
Prostate cancer -- like most other cancers -- is not just one cancer but made up of a wide variety of cancer subtypes, which behave differently to treatment.
I serve as a co-director of urologic research at Duke, and much of my work involves conducting clinical trials to test and develop new treatments for our patients. It’s been a pleasure to participate in the multidisciplinary approach to prostate cancer research and patient care at Duke.
The Duke Prostate Center is providing an environment where clinicians partner with biostatisticians, geneticists, pathologists, and others to develop new treatments for patients with prostate cancer.
I’m looking forward to opening the new DPC because it will improve patient outcomes through research. That’s really what I enjoy the most -- knowing that our work has helped patients live longer and enjoy a greater quality of life.