How a medical breast oncologist’s personal experience with surviving cancer influenced her patient care

As a medical oncologist with a career spanning 40 years, I have had the pleasure of interacting with many peers in my field, and in my current position as Director of the Division of Medical Oncology at The Ohio State University , I have seen many professors grow professionally and evolve as highly competent researchers and clinicians.

From these vantage points, I can attest that Dr. Bhuvaneswari Ramaswamy, a breast cancer specialist, is a truly gifted, persevering, and compassionate physician with whom I have the privilege of working closely. She is a cancer survivor herself, having been diagnosed with very rare metastatic breast cancer and still undergoing intermittent therapies.

Despite these tribulations, she offers a tireless dedication to the well-being of patients through education and compassionate care and demonstrates intellectual prowess and discipline as a successful laboratory researcher. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the CURE® Metastatic Breast Cancer Heroes™ award.

Since joining the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center in 2006, Dr. Ramaswamy has worked hard to improve the care and quality of life for breast cancer patients. She is the founder of the Living Well With Advanced Breast Cancer Clinic, specifically designed for patients with newly diagnosed metastatic breast cancer. trials. She also leads the annual New York Metastatic Breast Cancer Conference, which aims to provide patients with metastatic breast cancer with education and resources.

Dr. Ramaswamy regularly goes above and beyond the call of duty to positively impact the lives of patients with metastatic breast cancer. When she was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016, she was shaken, but recognized how her medical knowledge base helped her find a more stable position in the often overwhelming landscape. treatment options and outcomes.

She immediately understood what her patients – most of whom do not share the same degree of medical knowledge – must be feeling. Returning to full-time work after treatment, she used this experience to inform her practice, focusing on patient education and compassionate care with the goal of supporting an informed, independent and fulfilling life for all her patients. .

A formidable researcher, Dr. Ramaswamy is the principal investigator of several investigator-initiated studies, has received ongoing funding from the National Cancer Institute for her research, and has authored over 100 peer-reviewed articles. Her lab focuses on improving breast cancer outcomes by addressing drug resistance and addressing racial disparity in breast cancer incidence and outcomes.

In 2017, she became head of the Breast Medical Oncology Section, where she directs the breast cancer research program, mentors junior faculty to become successful investigators and researchers, and guides the group to national prominence in the advancement of science and the care of patients with breast cancer). She is a true servant leader who devotes her energy to the success of her colleagues.

As a physician, Dr. Ramaswamy has always been known for her patient-centered service. She was named by Forbes as one of the nation’s top 27 medical breast oncologists and received the Stellar Practitioner for Compassionate Care Recognition Award, given to outstanding physicians by patients and caregivers. She was also selected as one of only five women in the state of Ohio recognized as “Medical Center Wonders”.

These honors speak to his values ​​as a physician, always putting the patient first and putting his own personal accomplishments second to patient care. It’s an approach that many new teachers in the division are fortunate enough to learn, and she leads her section by example. In 2019, she received the Mentor of the Year award, exemplifying her commitment to junior faculty development, and in 2021, she was inducted into the OSU Mazzaferri-Ellison Society of Master Clinicians.

Inspired by his devoted example, Dr. Ramaswamy’s son, Rahul Chakravarthi Ramaswamy also decided to pursue a medical education. In his heartfelt essay “Incoming Call” (The Oncologist, June 2021), he offers the following insight from managing his mother’s cancer while training himself in medicine: “I know now that we don’t struggle not against death, but rather that we are fighting for a more meaningful time. Maximizing quality of life is the most important goal of care for patients with advanced disease.

With this approach, goals shift from an aggressive attempt to stave off death at all costs to a focus on the patient’s life goals. How to improve your quality of life? How do you give him time to accomplish his goals? I now know that these are the questions we need to ask ourselves for our patients. Our own mortality is not the enemy; in fact, it becomes the very idea that gives meaning to our lives.

Our senses are what drive us, and I can say without a doubt that Dr. Ramaswamy’s driving force is the well-being of his patients.

Dr. Ramaswamy is a brilliant and compassionate physician and scientist who is nothing short of an inspiration to those around him. She continually demonstrates her leadership skills and organizational prowess by initiating a team-oriented approach to advancing the common goals of the cancer center and improving outcomes for cancer patients. Her personal experience with cancer, while unfortunate, only reinforced her commitment to compassionate care. It is a great honor to nominate Dr. Bhuvaneswari Ramaswamy for the CURE® Metastatic Breast Cancer Heroes™ award.

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