Anoop Patel, MD
I first became interested in cancer from an intellectual standpoint; I wanted to understand how and why our own bodies seem to betray us through the formation of cancer cells. But as I went through medical training, I began to see and empathize with the human side of this experience. Witnessing what my patients go through, and how intensely brain tumors can alter their lives, motivates me to learn more in the lab, to fill in the knowledge gaps so that we can improve treatment options and outcomes. Neurosurgery feels like one of the frontiers of medicine; there’s a lot we know, but also a lot of discoveries waiting to be made. I feel very lucky that my clinical practice and research efforts drive and support one another.
Cancer isn’t just a bunch of cells in a dish — it’s something that happens to people and families, changing the trajectory of their lives. A big part of what makes this career so rewarding is being able to make a difference for my patients and their loved ones. Sometimes, that difference is striking. I remember one family thanking me for “giving” them their dad back after I removed a brain tumor that had caused him to experience negative personality changes. More often, the ways I help patients are less dramatic but no less meaningful, such as coming up with a treatment plan that helps them reach important goals like spending more years with their grandchildren or going on a bucket-list trip. I learn as much as possible about each patient’s situation so that I can walk them through the unique set of challenges brain tumors present and create a care plan that aligns with their wishes and priorities.
I am a neurosurgeon who specializes in the treatment of tumors affecting the brain, skull base and spinal cord. At SCCA, I provide care for patients who have metastatic tumors, which are cancers that started elsewhere in the body and have spread to the brain or spinal cord. I am a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and the North American Skull Base Society.
My research is primarily focused on understanding tumors at the cellular level. I study how one tumor cell differs from another and how those differences can affect a patient’s response to treatment. My goal is to use this information to design effective treatment regimens for patients with glioblastomas, an aggressive form of brain cancer.
Dr. Patel has received this peer-nominated award for his exceptional patient care.
Dr. Patel won this award in 2017 for his research on glioblastomas. Presented by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the award is intended to support the academic research of early-career physician-scientists.
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