Interview: Dr. Gautam Sudan, Medical Oncologist
Tell us a little about yourself!
My name is Dr. Gautam Sudan and I am a Medical Oncologist at Humber River Hospital.
What does a Medical Oncologist do?
Our job is to help our patients through their cancer journeys by offering them treatments that can control the advancement of their cancer, prevent cancer from coming back following surgery, or help with symptom management to maximize their quality of life.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – What do you wish people knew about Breast Cancer?
My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago and was treated at Humber River Hospital. That was life-changing for me as a son and as a physician. Watching my mom go through her cancer journey gave me a deepened perspective for what our patients experience.
I want to emphasize the importance of screening. Go for your mammograms, do your breast self-examinations, and if you feel something is off, get it checked. Don’t put it off. Even if it turns out to be nothing, I’d rather you have it checked out.
What makes you proud of our Cancer Care Program at Humber?
I am proud that everyone who works in our Cancer Care Program has the same passion for making sure our patients have great patient-centered care. No matter what, our patients come first. We have amazing Breast Health Navigators that help our patients coordinate their care, and all of our oncology patients have access to an urgent drop-in clinic with a Nurse Practitioner.
We are the first hospital in North America to use the MediTech Oncology Solution. All patient information, chemotherapy bookings, and safety checks live on one platform, which means we are more efficient and our patients are safer. As a physician I can look up exactly where a patient is in their plan, access exact details about their chemo doses, and see everything I need to know about their history in one place.
We also use a robot called RIVA to safely prepare chemotherapy drugs in a fully contained enclosure. RIVA performs many weight and barcode checks to make sure doses are accurate and complete – leaving an electronic audit trail that is integrated with the MediTech Oncology Solution I mentioned.
How has COVID-19 affected the Cancer Care Program?
At Humber, our entire team has done a great job of continuing to provide care, and most of our patients haven’t had a delay in care. Even a few weeks can make a difference in their outcomes, so everyone came together to make sure that urgent treatments, procedures, and medical imaging was getting done.
A lot of care has gone virtual. Our patients are immunocompromised, so virtual care has meant that we are able to see them regularly without exposing them to additional risk.
Our patients coming in for chemotherapy are being tested before every cycle and we have made adjustments to our visitor policy to keep each one of them safer.
What is something awesome that you have done in the past year?
My entire family went to Greece! My mom had finished her breast cancer treatment so we had something to celebrate.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by my patients – I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for them. For some, all they want is one more day to spend with their family, to wake up and see the sun. That is inspiring.
Being able to make a difference in their disease and in their life is what I love about my job.