Dr. Michele Basche, MD, Medical Oncologist at Sky Ridge
Q: Dr. Basche, you are a medical oncologist. Please tell us a little more about this field.
A: Medical oncologists are one member of a team of health care providers who help treat persons with cancer. Our field requires us to teach patients and their families about their disease and treatment options. Our field also involves evaluating the outcomes of clinical research and making leading edge treatment available to our patients. Medical oncology involves a great deal of careful listening so that we can get to know our patients and understand what is important to them. Oncology, like all areas of medicine, requires providers to have the courage to be honest and the heart to accompany patients and their families through some of life’s most difficult times.
Q: What led you to the field of medical oncology?
A: I’m much happier spending the bulk of my day talking to patients than donning a mask and doing procedures or reading images or slides. As a medical oncologist, I get to explain advances in treatment and help patients weigh treatment options. I love the fact that it’s never “one size fits all.” Rather, making treatment recommendations for a patient requires not only understanding the biology of an individual’s cancer but also taking into account other medical problems and an individual’s goals and wishes.
Q: You are co-chairing the Sky Ridge Breast Cancer Committee. Tell us why you are passionate about this specialty.
A: At Sky Ridge, physicians, nurses and allied health practitioners have come together to provide convenient, coordinated, state of the art, multidisciplinary care to our breast cancer patients. It is a privilege to be part of a talented and caring team of providers who give outstanding care to our patients. The Sky Ridge Breast Program is accredited by the NAPBC.
Q: What do you want patients newly diagnosed with breast cancer to know?
A: Many, many women with breast cancer do extremely well. Find physicians who listen to you, answer your questions, practice evidence-based medicine, offer clinical trials and are experienced treating persons with breast cancer.
Q: October is breast cancer awareness month. What are your best recommendations for readers on early detection?
A: Get your mammogram annually beginning at age 40. Early detection saves lives by finding breast cancer early, when the disease is smaller and less likely to have spread. If you have a family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer, talk to your physician, a breast cancer specialist, or a genetic counselor about your breast cancer risk, genetic testing and individualized approaches to screening and prevention.
Q: When you are not busy in your practice, what do you enjoy doing outside the office?
A: Coming home to my family. My daughters are 5 and 7 years old. We enjoy skiing, hiking, swimming, reading together and just being silly.