Meet Dr. Mahesh Kudrimoti, a radiation oncologist at the Markey Cancer Center. In this Making the Rounds Conversation, we talked to Dr. Kudrimoti about why he wanted to pursue medicine and what he does as a radiation oncologist. One of Dr. Kudrimoti’s specialties is the treatment of head and neck cancers.
Why did you want to become a doctor?
My father was a physician and that aspect of medicine always attracted me. We had several first cousins in the family that were physicians. To me, medicine was where I gravitated to naturally.
How did you become interested in treating cancer?
Cancer as an interest spiked during my third year of my medical school when my mother was diagnosed with a breast mass. Fortunately, it didn’t turn out to be cancer, but that was when I was introduced to a cancer center in India, and I realized the value of cancer care.
What does a radiation oncologist do?
As a radiation oncologist, I’m involved in all aspects of cancer care: curative and palliative. Cancer is managed in three different ways: triangulation of surgery, medical oncology used in chemotherapy and radiation oncology.
My discipline involves the use of radiation to treat cancers. We are taught to be a part of the team, and we are an integral part of the cancer care team.
What does the treatment of head and neck cancers involve?
In terms of the amount of quality of life changes that they cause and the amount of physical deformities that treatments can impose on them, (head and neck cancers) are a huge challenge.
Every site has to be acknowledged as being a different disease process. The approaches to each site are very different.
There has to be a high level of coordination between the surgeons, the medical oncologists, the radiation oncologists, the pathologists, the radiologists and also the other elements of cancer care: our dietitians, our social workers, our nurses.
Describe your patient-care philosophy.
I have realized the biggest thing you can do as a physician is understand your patient. What they stand for, what they want in life, what their expectations are.
We are part of a cancer team, which moves around a patient and keeps a patient in focus. Our goal is to do the best for a given situation that a patient is dealing with.
Watch our video with Dr. Kudrimoti where he describes what led him to pursue radiation oncology and why understanding his patients is so important.