Oncologist Who Specializes in Treating Rare Blood Cancers ‘Learns from Patients Every Day’


An expert from the Tisch Cancer Institute discusses how he learns from patients and their caregivers, and how their insight has helped lead advancements in the treatment of myeloproliferative neoplasms, a group of rare blood cancers.

This video features MPN Heroes® recipient Dr. John Mascarenhas, of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Tisch Cancer Institute in New York City.


What's interesting is when you see residents or fellows or new attendings come out, they're chock full of information and data. And they've got great skill sets in terms of evaluating labs and doing exams. But really, it comes over time. And I'm obviously still learning, and I think most people in our profession are.

You learn from the patients. I don't want to sound corny, but it's totally true. You learn the disease, and the intricacies of the disease and the variety of how the disease can present and behave from seeing each and every patient and I still, every time I have a clinic, I definitely learn something new from the patient themselves, or even from their caregivers. It’s simple things. Sometimes, patients are not good reporters of how they feel and what's going on with them. Sometimes it's the spouse who will come with them and say, “Well, this is actually what's going on with my husband.” Particularly, men are terrible reporters of their symptoms. You learn a lot from the patient, and you get a lot of insight from the caregivers and the spouses.

I think a lot of the advances we've made in the treatment of these diseases actually probably stemmed from a meld of taking the science and observations from the clinic that then come back and help us improve upon our treatment approaches. So definitely, it's an ongoing process, and we learn from the patients each and every day.

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