This week, we caught up with Dr. Joseph Kim, the chief of surgical oncology at the UK Markey Cancer Center for our latest Making the Rounds conversation. His clinical interests include the surgical treatment of hepatobiliary, gastric and pancreatic cancers, and he is skilled in robotic surgery as well as other complex operations. We talked to Dr. Kim about how he became a doctor and what he looks forward to every day here at Markey.
How did you become interested in medicine?
I grew up in Chicago and had the opportunity to volunteer at a hospital. That piqued my interest in helping patients with cancer.
What are some of your areas of expertise?
I bring with me years of experience doing the most difficult cancer operations. I utilize the most innovative techniques and have performed more than 100 robotic GI cancer operations.
I also perform a very complicated operation for patients with peritoneal surface cancers, which may include cancers of the appendix, the stomach, the ovary and the GI tract. This operation involves heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy, which we refer to as HIPEC surgery. This cancer procedure involves removal of all the cancer that we can see with our eyes.
What’s one of the highlights of being an oncologist?
I received a letter from a patient with pancreatic cancer who I had operated on over five years ago. People had told him that he’s not going to live beyond a year or two years. He sent me a letter thanking me that he was still alive after five years. That’s something that just makes my day.
What inspires you as a doctor?
As we grow up, we develop new inspirations. Wanting to be like my sister when I was younger, having children now and wanting them to have a good role model, and then having my mother be treated for lung cancer, these are all inspirations for the things that I do every day to make things better, to make things easier.
Watch our interview with Dr. Joseph Kim, where he explains his journey to becoming a doctor and how Markey oncologists work as a team to provide the best possible care.