Introducing Dr. Sameena Uddin, Program Chief and Medical Director, Oncology
Program Chief and Medical Director of Oncology Dr. Sameena Uddin has an intimate understanding of cancer care from a patient’s view and a physician’s. That’s because five of Dr. Uddin’s aunts had cancer.
She has both seen diagnoses given to her family, and given diagnoses to families. She has seen treatments given to her own, and she has treated patients of her own. She has seen lives impacted by cancer up close—her own family’s and her patients’ families.
One in two Ontarians will develop cancer. And one in four will die from it. Cancer touches us all—colleagues, friends, and loved ones. Dr. Uddin knows this because she’s lived it.
“Many times you’re breaking terrible news to wonderful people,” she says. “I am constantly inspired by my patients,” she continues, “because they demonstrate strength, courage, and resiliency during a dire time.”
The Heart of Cancer Care
The relationships Dr. Uddin forges with patients and their families are precious. “I come to know them during what I call a privileged moment of vulnerability and we establish a close bond. This is at the heart of cancer care for me, and I cherish this.”
Because her patients invest such trust in her, she says that it is her duty to them “to always be transparent with them.” “One aspect of our care at our cancer centre that is exemplary is that we do not just focus on our patients’ illness,” she explains, “We focus on them as people, people with fears and anxieties, who sometimes need to talk.”
Patient-centred cancer care means more than a radiation treatment regimen, as essential as that is. “Having cancer is a series of struggles,” she remarks. “Our team is very good at helping patients and their families with those struggles—like how to talk to your kids about cancer—as well as providing technologically advanced treatments.”
“Listening,” she says “is such an important part of the care process.”
At the Centre of the Circle of Care
The technological care provided at the Carlo Fidani Regional Cancer Centre is the same as other centres. Our hospital uses the same advanced technologies, like immunotherapy, targeted radiation, and targeted systems therapy (oral), among others. “The difference,” she observes, “is that our care is close to home, with familiar providers who know them as people—by name. Our patients never fall out of what I call our ‘circle of care.’”
“I’ve seen care at other hospitals as a physician and with family,” she says. “There can be care rooms that are so full with residents, fellows, medical students, nurses, and physicians that it feels like the patient can fall out of that circle.”
“Not here,” she says. “That never happens here—our patients and their families are always at the centre of our care.”
The gratitude that she and her team receive afterwards is testament to our high quality care. Many patients or families of former patients return to express their thanks for the compassionate care they received.
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