L. Christine Fang, MD
Dr. Fang is a radiation oncologist who specializes in treating breast and gynecologic cancers.
"Cancer is almost always an unexpected, unwelcome and scary event when it arrives in one’s life," she says. "My goal is to take part in treating, guiding, and supporting my patients through this unwelcome event so that they can go back to their lives free of cancer and with as few lingering side effects as possible."
Dr. Fang decided to care for cancer patients because, "I can think of few greater privileges than serving my patients and their loved ones during this time."
One of Dr. Fang's current research interests is novel radiation techniques to minimize radiation-related side effects for breast cancer. Along with the SCCA radiation oncology team, Dr. Fang developed a high-tech approach to protect the heart during radiation treatment for breast cancer.
Utilizing Calypso, a GPS-like system originally developed for prostate cancer, the patient's position can be very precisely monitored while the radiation beam is on. Patients are asked to take a deep breath during radiation treatment which naturally moves the heart away from the breast and the radiation beam. The Calypso system allows real-time continuous tracking to ensure that exposure to the heart is minimized or virtually eliminated.
Dr. Fang will be the principal investigator of the SCCA research study as well as a multi-institutional registry trial on this breath hold technique. She is also investigating aspects of the treatment process that affect the patient’s experience and quality of life. The predominant focus in cancer research has been advancements that lead to improving treatment efficacy.
"Great strides have been made and there are continued efforts to push cure rates even higher," she says. "As cancer survivors are winning the fight against cancer, they are often left with lasting side effects from treatments as a badge of their survivorship. In addition to improving cure rates, I believe that understanding the factors that affect patients’ quality of life is equally important as we should not only strive to cure cancer, but to also minimize side effects and maintain the highest possible quality of life."
Dr. Fang is also developing clinical trials that will utilize proton beam therapy for breast cancer in preparation for the opening of the SCCA Proton Center in March 2013. Having completed a proton therapy fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center, she is well-suited to investigate this modality for breast cancer. Proton therapy has unique properties that allow the radiation beam to precisely stop and thus has great potential to minimize the amount of radiation received by surrounding normal organs such as the heart, lung, and opposite breast.
L. Christine Fang, MDDr. Fang is a radiation oncologist who specializes in treating breast and gynecologic cancers. She has special expertise in proton beam radiation therapy.
Patient Care Philosophy:
The most important aspect to my work is delivering the best care possible to my patients. This includes evidence-based, personalized medical management, compassion, empathy, patience, and delivery of hope. I believe in treating the person, not the disease. I place a strong emphasis on clear communication with my patients so that there is a clear understanding of the disease process, prognosis, treatment options, and what is to be expected during treatment.
- Assistant Professor, Radiation Oncology, University of Washington School of Medicine
Solid tumors with an emphasis on breast cancer and gynecologic malignancies
Heart-sparing radiotherapy using the Calypso breath-hold technique
Proton beam radiation therapy
Education And Training
Medical Degree: University of Utah School of Medicine
Residency: University of Washington Medical Center
Fellowship: Proton Therapy, MD Anderson Cancer Center
Dr. Fang is the principal investigator of the SCCA research study on the breath-hold technique using Calypso. She will also be the principal investigator of a multi-institutional registry trial on the Calypso breath-hold technique in which patients can participate.
In this video, watch Dr. Fang explain the Calypso breath-hold technique.
In this KOMO TV interview, Dr. Fang shows viewers the Calypso device and explains how it is used during radiation therapy for breast cancer patients to help protect the heart.
Visit PubMed for a full listing of Dr. L. Christine Fang's journal articles.