Cristina M. Ghiuzeli, MD
I was caring for a patient who had been diagnosed with a high-risk form of leukemia. Chemotherapy alone wasn’t going to be enough; there was a high risk that the disease would come back, so I referred her for a stem cell transplant. Before a transplant can be done, several procedures must be completed. Time was of the essence, due to the aggressive nature of her cancer, so I contacted multiple physicians to arrange appointments for the procedures. But I found out later that she didn’t keep those appointments. The next time I saw her, we sat down and had a heart-to-heart. She shared with me that she had delayed her care because she was really scared about getting a transplant. We spent time that day talking through those fears, and I explained in more depth the sense of urgency in moving forward. In the end, she felt better prepared to follow through with our treatment plan. Now, she’s a year out from her transplant, in remission and doing well. Sometimes it’s helpful to take a step back and talk about what’s happening from an emotional standpoint. Open, honest communication is central to a successful physician-patient partnership.
One of the most influential people in my life was my grandfather. I was very close to him; he helped raise me along with my parents. When I was a senior in high school, he developed pancreatic cancer. It progressed so quickly that he died not long after being diagnosed. It was shocking and devasting for my whole family. My goal as a physician is to treat patients the way I would want my own loved ones to be treated in the midst of a medical crisis: with empathy, respect and patience. While it’s important to be a teacher, helping people understand their diagnosis and treatment, it’s just as important to be a good listener — to understand who a person is and what they value.
Specialties and clinical expertise: Hematologic Malignancies
I am a board-certified hematologist with experience caring for patients who have both malignant and benign blood-related diseases. Before joining SCCA, I was an attending physician for more than 10 years at North Shore University Hospital in New York. My background also includes serving as a principal investigator on clinical trials studying treatments for leukemia, lymphoma and other diseases. In my current practice, I work with patients who have acute leukemia, myelodysplastic syndromes and other aggressive myeloid malignancies (cancers that affect cells in the blood and bone marrow).
We make promising new treatments available to you through studies called clinical trials led by SCCA doctors. Many of these trials at SCCA have led to FDA-approved treatments and have improved standards of care globally. Together, you and your doctor can decide if a study is right for you.
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SCCA accepts most national private health insurance plans as well as Medicare. We also accept Medicaid for people from Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. We are working to ensure that everyone, no matter what their financial situation, has access to the care they need.