I am a palliative care physician at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center (Roswell Park). I care for patients who have advanced cancer, helping to manage their pain and other symptoms and providing psychosocial support. I have expertise in managing refractory cancer pain, neuropathy, nausea, fatigue, dyspnea, mood disorders and the other symptoms patients with advanced cancer experience. I see patients in the Roswell Park outpatient palliative care clinic, and I conduct inpatient consults for patients admitted to Roswell Park.
An important part of my care is helping patients identify their treatment options and preferences throughout the stages of their cancer treatment. I help my patients weigh the risks and benefits of further chemotherapy and invasive procedures, for example, to decide the best tailored approach to their care. In addition, I help patients plan their care in the event their health worsens. These conversations help ensure that medical teams understand and respect my patients’ choices.
I am an active researcher. Immune checkpoint inhibitors have provided an exciting breakthrough for patients with advanced cancer, but they can come with serious toxicities. I focus my research on evaluating better ways to screen and diagnose these toxicities earlier and identifying risk factors which may predispose some patients to developing these immune-related toxicities. Many patients also experience serious neuropathic pain as a result of their treatments, which can be challenging to care for; I am working to identify new treatments for this condition.
I am in the beginning stages of investigating advanced-care planning in patients who are often at risk of poor communication with their medical teams. These patients receive less information, and in turn ask fewer questions of their physicians, than other patients. As a result, they may not receive the care that is truly consistent with their wishes. My goal is to educate medical teams to recognize high-risk patients and ensure that these patients receive the information they need.
I teach medical students and residents. I lead small group discussions for third- and fourth-year students on advanced-care planning strategies. I also provide lectures and board review to the internal medicine residents.