Dr. Alexandria Phan
GI Oncologist, Associate Professor of Medicine
Dr. Alexandria Phan [oncologist] Making community physicians partners in care.
Community physicians, I believe, play an important role in the management of any disease. I think that it's difficult and impractical to function as a center of excellence without having a partnership with community oncologists. Community oncologists have a different relationship with our patients than we do at specialized centers. Their daily interactions with our NET patients put them in an ideal position to be the NET patients' "quarterback" in the community, providing and orchestrating care. More importantly, community oncologists function as facilitators of the overall vision/plan for the cancer patient. When carrying out plans of care, our partners in the community should feel that they can easily approach and communicate with us. They should know that they are respected and absolutely crucial for optimizing care of NET patients. Not everybody can travel from Alaska. But they can come once every three months or once every year to make a recommendation for that year's work, and then go back to get their care.
My best advice for a colleague of mine who works in the community, who sees lots of patients, breast, lung and colon cancer, their expertise is not in neuroendocrine tumors. That's what we do all the time. So my advice to them is don't hesitate, pick up the phone, say, "I have a patient with a neuroendocrine tumor. When can you see this patient? I need your help." We actually see that as a sign that they are proactive, and being the patient's advocate.