Dr. Terpenning introduces herself and describes the responsibilities of a medical oncologist.
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Marilou Terpenning: Hi. My name is Marilou Terpenning. I am a physician in practice here in Santa Monica, affiliated with Saint John’s Health Center. I am an adjunct faculty member at the John Wayne Cancer Institute. I am also an Associate Clinical Professor at the David Geffen School at UCLA School of Medicine. I practice in a multi-specialty group here in Santa Monica where we are taking care of all types of cancer but my own particular interest has been in breast cancer and gynecologic cancers. What Is The Role Of A Medical Oncologist? Marilou Terpenning: Medical oncologists are coordinators. We are internists by training first, so what we do is give opinions about how cancer could be treated or should be treated, and then when we treat ourselves, we use medicines like internists do. That may be chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, immunotherapy, biologic therapy. Then we also follow people who had cancer in the past for cancer-related check-ups. So, those are the types of things we do. We can compare ourselves to cardiologists and heart surgeons where the cardiologist takes care of certain heart problems and the heart surgeon others; in the same way a breast surgeon might take care of certain parts of breast cancer care and a medical oncologist takes care of other parts. It’s a team.