As an orthopedic oncologist, I treat cancers of the bone and muscle. My background is very different from most doctors. I started as a veterinarian and became interested in cancer because so many dogs have cancer, and I came to medical school to learn how to treat and beat some of these types of cancer. I’m still a veterinarian, and that’s a big part of what we do here. Many cancers of the bone and muscles, called sarcomas, are rare in people, but common in dogs. So continuing to treat dogs with this type of cancer lets us and our group gain a deeper understanding of how these cancers work. With my patients, I try to find out what the cancer has taken from them, and what their goals are for how to get back in control. For some, their goal is to beat the cancer no matter what. For others, the goal is to keep walking or to be able to walk again, or to be in less pain. Then we try to tailor our approach to the patient. Often, people think being a surgical oncologist must be a terrible job. But I find something in each patient to admire, because patients dealing with cancer develop a strength the rest of us don’t get to have.