New physician in prostate care focused on the best patient outcomes
Dr. Melissa Huynh has always had an interest in surgery, but her interest in urology started as a second-year medical student working in a basic science lab. Upon the recommendation of a mentor, Dr. Huynh took his suggestion to heart and considered a career path in urology. “The scientist overseeing my research project collaborated and worked very closely with the Division of Urology. He graciously set up an elective for me and through that experience, I learned that urology has a great mix of medical and surgical management, and the opportunity to address both quality of life issues and life-threatening conditions.”
Because of her interest in the biology of cancer, complex surgical cases, and working toward the best possible outcome for patients, Dr. Huynh sub-specialized in urologic oncology and recently started at the St. Joseph's Prostate Diagnostic Assessment Program (PDAP) and at London Health Sciences Centre in urologic oncology.
“I am one of a number of urologists involved in PDAP, where we work with the patient and a nurse navigator to streamline the investigation of a possible diagnosis of prostate cancer," says Dr. Huynh. “Once a patient is diagnosed, we arrange for further testing and facilitate the appropriate referrals for treatment, whether it be surgery, radiation, or medical therapy. We work closely with our medical oncology and radiation oncology colleagues at the London Regional Cancer Centre to provide quick and efficient care for the patient.”
Dr. Huynh feels quite privileged to be a part of the patient’s journey. “Having cared for family members with cancer myself, I know that receiving a diagnosis of cancer can be very difficult on patients and their families. My goal is to help them understand their illness as much as possible and to provide comprehensive care regardless of the stage of the disease.”
She also feels very fortunate to work with colleagues in medical and radiation oncology. “The treatment of prostate cancer is always evolving,” says Dr. Huynh. "We are constantly learning more information, and we all work together as a team for the patient.”
November is the month dedicated to men’s health issues and according to the Canadian Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Canadian men, with 1 in 9 men receiving a diagnosis in their lifetime. Regarding prostate screening, Dr. Huynh encourages open conversations. “There are shared decision-making and discussions between a patient and doctor based on a patient’s age, values, and preferences. I would encourage men who are concerned about prostate cancer to speak to their doctors about their prostate health and the potential benefits of screening.”