The human touch: Atlanta, Georgia: for Dr. Patricia Thompson every cancer patient is special.

Author:Reagan-Porras, Laura

She grew up in Argentina alongside her father, enthralled by his passion to serve in the country's volunteer health campaign to give children's vaccines. By age 15 she was part of the campaign herself, placing the polio vaccine on sugar cubes for children.

It was then that she decided to be a doctor. Fueled by the desire to help others, it was only natural that young Patricia Thompson would go to medical school after her family moved to the United States and she learned English. She excelled there.

As a medical student, she was assigned to follow a cancer patient. Patricia took the patient's medical history and tracked the details extensively.

She spoke to her in depth and they became very close. Dr. Thompson recalls this special patient telling her that no one touched her because she had cancer as if they thought she was contagious.

When the rotation was over, Dr. Thompson, then a medical intern, would greet this special patient with a hug every time she was re-admitted to the hospital. Dr. Thompson knew then that oncology would be her calling.

"My patient's personal journey through her cancer and the way it affected those around her really impacted me to serve the whole patient," said Dr. Thompson.

Today, Dr. Thompson greets her patients with hugs and empathetically listens to them, not only about their symptoms and treatment regimens, but about their lives.

The attention to the whole person and the multidisciplinary model created for Dr. Thompson a perfect platform to serve patients holistically at Cancer Treatment Centers of America[R] (CTCA) in the metro Atlanta area. She is the Medical Director of Thoracic Oncology at CTCA[R].

Latinos now comprise 17% of the U.S. population. There are 126,000 cancer patients diagnosed each year, and approximately 38,000 to 40,000 of those are Latino, according to Thompson.

Dr. Thompson is also an accomplished researcher, having conducted research in more than five clinical trials and published on the subject of metastatic renal cancer in the prestigious Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. She explained that the field is making amazing strides in cancer care because of new drugs and treatments.

Research is allowing doctors to individualize cancer treatment...

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