For Amy Law, there has never been a more exciting time to be an oncologist. A lot has changed since she started practicing in the 1990s. Medical researchers and physicians now have a better understanding of how genetic mutations drive growth of the disease and the result is phenomenal changes in how it’s treated.
“The more we know about the basic science of molecular genetics, the more we are able to be a lot more specific and offer a lot more customized therapy,” she explains.
Law also points to recent breakthroughs in immunotherapy (preventing or treating disease by stimulating immune response) and a growing movement to treat the “whole person” rather than just the cancer.
“We are now focusing more on diet and exercise as an integral part of treatment,” says Law. “There’s also more focus on trying to address the needs of cancer survivors. There are a lot of people who do survive cancer, who are cured, but they still have some residual side effects or issues. For the longest time we were focused on beating the cancer; we forgot about the ones who survived. We are getting better at treating the patient as a whole. I think that’s exciting.”
Eisenhower Medical Center may be smaller than the academic medical centers where Law previously practiced in Boston and Pennsylvania before moving here in 2010, but for her, there’s an intimacy in the environment that perfectly suits her.
“The unique aspect of being here is it’s personalized. Patients feel that when they come to Eisenhower, they’re being seen as individuals. You are Mary, you are John. Whereas if you were to venture into a large academic system, it’s more numbers,” she adds. “At the same time, you have access to very qualified specialists, therapists, rehab centers, and clinical studies, but in a more boutique setting.”
VIDEO: Dr. Amy Law says she is able to help people at the toughest point of their lives.