Dr Amy Commander

Tuesday, March 20th


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Good morning everyone you're listening to the award winning programs exceptional women on match when a six point seven I'm your host seat have a right here in studio this morning. With doctor Amy commander she is the medical director of the hour back breast cancer center. Act Newton Wellesley hospital doctor commander also teaches at Harvard Medical School counsels women who are at risk or have had a breast cancer diagnosis. And go in her spare time she runs marathons did I miss anything. I think that's pretty dead yet we'll welcome to show. Thank you so much for inviting me this is such an honor. Well let's first talk about the hour back breast center 'cause I wanna talk a little bit about you guys. Described it as a multidisciplinary. Patient centered approach and I want. You'd sort of explain what that means because that's a really important piece brain and happy to discuss that. I think it's really important to first focus on our mission at it mostly hospital. Which is to treat and care for our patients and their families as they would have beloved family member. And we all know that there's nothing more scary and hearing you have cancer and so at the Arab backed breast center. Our mission is to ensure that when we see in new patient. She feels well cared for and that when she comes to that first day as it she can see all of per specialist at one time in a multi disciplinary clinic. Says she doesn't have to come back on Monday to see the surgeon and on twos data CD oncologist. We have a multi disparate clinic where a woman can see. You know the breast oncologist. A fellowship trained breast surgeon. Reidy psychology specialist. And if she has other needs like they need to see genetic counselor. Or meet with our social worker we can arrange for all of these visits and one setting to provide the best care possible. And I love that you have this multi just disciplinary approach because I think one of the things. People who have have just heard those words need is to feel like they have a team of people rallying for them I Imus feel like it's like we got to. You know whatever you need we've got to every family needs we've got you. And I know you also do clinical trials and things like that talked a little bit about. Some of the things that are going on just in that world I mean what can milestones are we reach you know we're getting really better sort targeted therapies and things like that. That really are specific to people's diagnosis commute can you speak to that a little bit. Absolutely and so glad that you asked about clinical trials since these are so important in the field of oncology. Just a defined clinical trials an extra two and understands that that means. These refer to research studies of new drugs are sent types new combinations of drugs that are ready exist. To try to find new and better ways to treat cancer. Says specifically and breast cancer we understand that breast cancer is not just one disease there are many different sub types of breast cancer with different. With each did different genetic make up soap with clinical trials our goal is to you know find the best way to treat each specific subtype a breast cancer. And I think we are making incredible strides over the past 25 years in terms of treating these different septic suppress cancer. So I ask you a little bit about your personal experience. You look really young to meet people can't see you that your your young woman and yeah yeah accomplished for for for your age and I ask you teach you always know. The one to be a doctor ever since you're really little was this something that was a passionate viewers. So I grew up in Savannah Georgia. And my father is an internist so Renee at the dinner table we would hear his stories about his patients and their families. Or some incredible diagnosis that he made that nobody else thought. And I can honestly tell you my father has it true passion for medicine and the best evidence for that that fact that he just turned 75. And he is still working in his own solo practice yet hit all time on Jesus patients in the hospital and does not have any plans to retire anytime soon. I think I have a bit of my father and I think he does sound like. And I like to like it outage when you're doctors not a job it's a way of life because I have to live breathe and eat it I mean it's you're doing research you're seeing patients. You're getting I'm sure you've Donna on coffee thing it's a wave fry and I guess you did say that answer my kids would agree it's a god you have to. Kids to you at two children Lily age eleven and who is an expert cupcake baker on deep kid who is eight. And his claim to fame as last year he won the school's high competition by memorizing. Over a pension thirty digits of pi and got up a high need teachers. Follows so that's cool so he's so is he a map twins and not math and robotics and things like my craft is like your typical eight year old kids yeah I'd be embarrassed that I dissent. I thought okay. So balance everything you do with your family life because it's and you have two young kids and your doctor and I'm sure you outside interests as well what do you do to sort of strike a balance. Yemen has been as a retina specialist at mass sign year Saddam and that that the decrease in nest. So I joked that opted it feels like we're treading water and just trying to get married today you know Sunday's are better than others but that's everybody I can't help try to make it look like we have completely figured out we have all the pieces in place. And we really dig down like all of us every day just like on the ball up there and figure out how to juggle them today. Absolutely and it seems a lot harder and the kids were younger another they're eaten alive then and in other turning into their own people and I see that they're doing so well on school on their doing well socially. It really makes me feel proud that somehow this juggling act is working at. And you and so my education and training is so impressive Yale school of medicine residency at Israel and you were to Mass. General. You pretty proud of your accomplishments. I am pretty Harvick yes thank you so much it's. You're just tuning in and joining us you are listening to exceptional and I magic when a six point seven times to tap in this morning. We are talking with doctor Amy and her she's a breast cancer oncologist and director. Of the hour back breast center Newton Wellesley hospital we've been talking about approach to treatment treatment options and peace the compassionate care. Let's get back to that part of the conversation. On time if you will about the psychological aspects of getting cancer diagnosis you know. These are real people. That are being diagnosed they're not just patients to human beings they have real feelings they feel anger they feel uncertainty about their future. How do you address that he said it. That is such a good questions such an important part of what I do every single day. Imus we alluded to earlier I think there's nothing more scary than being told you have cancer. And so NIC in new patient I missed important first step is to take their hand and let them know that I mean to be with them every step of the way. That they're gonna get the best possible care. With the best specialists. Certainly with access to amazing cared Newton Wellesley hospital and you know I just when it insure that they feel comfortable from day one and we are also fortunate to have wonderful. Colleagues and in Wellesley including a wonderful social worker and psychologist and access to psychiatry so. We insure that we're addressing all of his knees in addition to treating cancer. And you know Wesley has such a great reputation I mean people speak of it so high. So it must be nice that the work you're doing is with in such. They maintain that would you say is that they just attract the best doctors in the area what is the key. Yet it's abandoned it mostly hospital now since October 2016. And it's been a wonderful opportunity for me so far. And in very impressed with the colleagues and I have been working with and I think. It's a such a pleasant wonderful work environment were everywhere and it's a collegial and there's a lot of camaraderie and acting Catholic people stayed there and it tracks outstanding doctors. I asked you about and you know that that connections that you make with patience I'm sure that some patients. Somehow touched you personally maybe it's a young Tom who's who's dealing with cancer diagnosis. You deal with that personally insert separate your opening have to be compassion on the one hand. But you also have to you. In some ways you know understand that it's a doctor patient relationship. Absolutely and it's eight ecology at opting can be particularly difficult because we've become so close to our patience. And to their families and opt into their children as well. That sometimes it is very hard to separate you know. Our professional lives and personalize and beat the become so close to our patients and and you know I think it's just. You know I have so many stories they can tell you that I'm stinky one piece in particular that left. I'm a strong impression on me and I think of her often and her family often and you know she had young children close in age to my children and a loving husband and you know she did get through barely wrap time with her disease and we did everything we could to treat her at actively and aggressively is because it. And maintain her quality of life and you know I I just think of her often and you know I will they acknowledge that it it's hearts and hence a separate personal and professional honest. And it let's talk a little bit about the challenges that you happen this particular fields on dealing with with breast cancer you know what would you say the biggest challenges right now. That you deal as professionals wearing and me at first at state that we have made incredible strides in treating breast cancer over the past 25 years for example. There's been a 40% decline and death rates from breast cancers that that's out after big yeah that was reported by the American cancer society of last year so that's very exciting. But obviously we still have a lot of work to do. And fortunately we still own note that. Each year or so many of our patients will die from breast cancer and so we're still always trying to. By new treatments and that's again getting back to the importance of clinical trials guns were always searching for better treatments. To you know helper patients that against breast cancer particular via. And what about the what are you most proud of in terms of the milestones that you've seen during your career the most recent ones. Writes that there's been as I mentioned there's so many different sub types of breast cancer breast cancer is not just one disease. And just picking one specifics at tech caught her two positive breast cancer and just in the past few years since I finished my training. We have all of these new drugs that are specifically. And designed to target her two positive breast cancers which is significantly improved outcomes for women with this type of disease. Which is about 15% about breast cancer so. That's been really exciting just in the past five to ten years to CDs amazing development. Something particular that I'm also just proud of that Newton Wellesley it's that. And you know as you can imagine for patients going to kibo. Losing hair as like a major bummer of course and ask nobody wants to go through that night and something that has been really interesting lately is the use of scalp cooling technology which can help. Reduced hairless and many women going through chemotherapy. And when I started in Wellesley that was something really important to me to help. You know address this issue for my patients and we worked with the company cut Pacman to get their scalp equaling machines are cancer center. And we got them in October and I am proud to say we are the first center in Massachusetts to offer this to our patients. So that's been wonderful huge drop from many women of course because I feel like I mean it's a self esteem saying you know women we spent a lot of time on her hair and you know it. A lot of us. You're used to looking in the near and seeing yourself a certain way in the and you have to shave your head and and and eyes huge. Huge deal and I think that it's wonderful that you can help because and it also draws attention to the fact. That year. Undergoing treatment and some women are very private and not have to you know it's like you know. Are you sick. So I think that that's huge yes it does it work like what percentage of people does that work for a certain diagnosed yes I should clear by so. The Skype calling technology that we are using that this company cut packs meant so they will quote that it can help reduce about. Laughs about it by about 50% so it doesn't work a 100% although certainly for some of my patients I can say. It's definitely been even been very effective. It works the best with certain tepid chemotherapy regiment that doesn't work with every tip acumen at their. For a patient to speak with her doctor specifically about what regiments you'd be receiving to determine whether or not. This technology helper or not it doesn't work for everything but certainly we need be able to you know learn worked up. How to preserve pair with other arrangements as as we do for the research in this area. Closer re getting realistically to macular mean people talk about it all the time we see in our lifetime I mean we've made huge advances there's there's no doubt about that. We're a much better place than we even worked when you're thirty years ago. But are we getting close. I do I would love in my lifetime Q never have to see in other breast cancer patient again can ever lens care about the aptly wonder. And had no John kell I felt it but I'm certainly I think we are making incredible strides as a disputed over the past five years that death rates have gone down by 40%. And it was happening over the next 25 years so. I'm really optimistic certainly at Sony and meeting colleagues that the wildly and the MGH cancer center doing such incredible research. Pushing this guilt for at that and very optimistic for the future. If you're just waking up and tuning in thanks listening to exceptionally magic when a six point seven NC tab in this morning. We're talking with doctor Amy commander director of the hour breast center new hospital. We've been discussing the research milestones challenges and out from the doctor commanders personal. Accomplishment let's continue speaking of personal accomplishments. You've Mary on top of everything else and I kind of taking an issue with this because I really feel inferior and exit excuse me as I ride. On a bike that's about it. How many marathons have you and well I am training for Boston this year again for sharing each and this'll be number nine titled my fifth Boston. Theory. Actually asked Ryan every few equity and ran every day that I try to run at least fortified is so. What is running duty was to stress release EU is to keep initiate a little of both. I would like to say that Iran apparently from my physical health but I can honestly say it's also remind. I think it's really import I'm just I feel like each morning and I get up they need to do something for myself and it's real important topic. So is it in the morning. Yeah usually before where I've and I try to do their aftermarket would never yeah I got too tired now it's just right. A bit about and something that. People would be surprised to learn about you is there something that. That you'd like to share. Like him are pretty busy schedule so I don't really have that next time to watch TV that has been a night to enjoy relaxing game of programs and how our producer can I do it. Something income and my favorite character is the nearest target area and coo is another exceptional woman who should be on the show. Kendra and she's a big game on its word to describe the kind of doctor you are. What would you love to hear come out of their mouth. Other than and mean not just about. About all of you as a person about. You know a year education about the way you interact patients to like here that's. Yeah and it's always wonderful to hear comments for and you know colleague summit bump into knew this when I make patients who. Maybe shares a story about economic issues that about me and just hearing. You know that they think that I. Showing compassion and then going to bat for them that adult. Do anything to provide care for them I think those are the kinds of comments not to hear from my patients. And it does make me feel very grateful that he and X such an important impact and it's. Hope that your kids learn from you your your husband are both doctors are both caregivers. You've both dedicated a lot of your time and energy tear professions education first in the new professions. What do you hope the takeaways them. And I think our kids as they see how hard my husband and I work they recognize that it really requires passion and and dedication for example to pursue a career in medicine and I feel like my husband and I are both very dedicated charge shots and have a real sense of purpose and for ailment from our jobs and I think that's. And keeping at like them to take away from what they want to separate days that and acre lot and figure out what they're gonna do with their lives. Planning something very meaningful it's an important sense of purpose. Is there anybody that's been a role model to use throughout the years doctor colleague anybody that you like this person is something that I won you know keep my thigh. And imports and it their my you know job of these past the years and the medical tape have so many wonderful an outstanding role models. And probably still have to say my father was my first role model again just picture and he's still going to work every day and it and it Saturdays and not say and has no signs of slowing down. I'm so I'm fortunate to have had him a sniper's room or via. Your list personally or professionally things that you still one did you mean. Time. So there's certainly many things at work and excited to do one area and particularly interested in his cancer survivors. We note in 2000 there 2018. That there are three million women living in the United States Japan tightness of breast cancer. And it is that there is treatments that are up offensive potential health conditions need to look out for and that means to optimize their care. And improve their quality of life that's an area that I'm really interested in working and it focusing on. But the Newton Wellesley you know and in behind. And then secondly if and turns personal bucket list has the most laughing at me last night on here talking about this idea by. I would love to go to India for yoga retreat. Not come Whitney there may be some math so do you do yoga on a regular pace every night strike and not very good at I try. Yes and you'd actually go and go where they really know what they're doing over there day and day hope plagued them and go yeah. So much for sharing so much of your personal accomplishments your professional accomplishments the work at Newton Wellesley our packed press center. It's amazing and we really appreciate your time and and we're so happy to I'm happy as a breast cancer survivor knowing that people like you're in our corner so. Thank you so much thank you. I want to thank you doctor commander for sharing your perspective your expertise and little of your personal with us today your work in the field of breast cancer treatment and care is Paramount. To so many and we appreciate you do in the pursuit of creating positive outcomes for patients. We issued the path to block if you continue to change the landscape for future generations it's been my pleasure. To have doctor Amy commander in studio today antsy tab and I think I'll be home. For less thing to exceptional women on magic when a six point. We talked all kinds of women CEOs and authors and celebrities but we also talked to teens in the next door neighbor. And the person who is just quietly making things happen. Being exceptional as about having a story or Michigan or even just a dream so let us know if you know something like that email us. Go to magic 1067 dot com click on exceptional women. And then join me every Sunday mornings at 730.