Dr. Pankaj Vashi: I’m Dr. Pankaj Vashi. I’m a gastroenterologist. I work at Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Less than thirty percent of the patients actually have nutrition addressed nationwide. Our approach is very different. A hundred percent of our patients individually have one or one consultation with nutritionists when they first come here.
I remember Peggy very well; she came to us in a wheelchair pretty much five years ago. She was yellow like an orange because of jaundice. She was just recently diagnosed to have pretty extensive, metastatic, widespread pancreatic cancer to the liver. She was very, very weak, needed help to get out of bed. She was extremely sick. Things that were in her favor was that she was very positive-minded, she wanted to get treated, she was young, she had otherwise very healthy body except for unfortunately bad disease.
When she started the aggressive nutritional intervention we noticed that she was starting to get better and she had very dramatic response. There’s no way I could have done it alone. She got care from her oncologist, she got care from radiation doctor, she got care from naturopathic doctor, she got care from pastoral care, and from mind-body department.
So, it’s a multi-disciplinary treatment. I tell many of my patients I said, “A care of a patient is like a table with four, five, four legs and you need all four legs to keep the table up there.” And the reason why I love what I do is because I see the effect, I see the impact that I have in patient with a change that I can make a difference in the life of one of my patients, and that really is very satisfying to me.