Ata S. Moshiri, MD, MPH, FAAD
I remember vividly the first time I gave a cancer diagnosis to a patient. As a fresh intern at the VA, I had to tell a perfect stranger that his nausea and vomiting were not, in fact, just another bout of pancreatitis brought on by too much drinking — he had a large mass in his pancreas that would likely cut his life short. When I shared the news, he smiled and said, “It’s about time!” It turned out that men in his family had died from pancreatic cancer, and in his eyes, having made it to his sixties, he had beaten expectations. Every time I saw him after that, he was in good spirits, laughing with the nurses. He taught me that people are capable of incredible resilience and to walk alongside them in times of need is truly a profound privilege.
I am a firm believer in multidisciplinary, team-based medicine that puts patients and families first. To me, this means that all of us — surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, palliative care specialists, pharmacists, dieticians, social workers and all other members of the team, including myself — stay in close contact with one another and work toward one united purpose: helping patients achieve their goals for care, whatever they are. I think this is done best when all these players are familiar with each other, working under the same roof and using the same electronic medical record to facilitate communication. Consolidating complicated disease management into one medical home, like SCCA, is very important, and it’s one of the reasons I choose to work here.
I am a board-certified dermatologist and dermatopathologist who specializes in treating patients with a variety of skin cancers and melanoma. I am the director of the T-VEC (talimogene laherparepvec) program at SCCA. With a background in cutaneous (skin) oncology and dermatopathology (the study of skin diseases at a microscopic level), I am most interested in the genetic alterations that create and perpetuate cancer. Examining how tumors change under the lens of a microscope can help predict treatment outcomes. I have conducted research and published articles on a variety of different skin cancers. Additionally, I have a special interest in pigmented lesions (moles) and the use of non-invasive skin imaging to diagnose and monitor lesions.
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SCCA’s Ata S. Moshiri, MD, MPH, FAAD spoke with KIRO 7 to discuss preventative measures to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer.
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