Doctor Tries to Personalize Cancer Treatment
The San Francisco Chronicle recently profiled UCSF breastcare surgeon Dr. Laura Esserman,
There is no starched white lab coat for Dr. Laura Esserman. Instead, the tall and striking breast cancer researcher, surgeon and visionary favors colorful clothes, high heels and, on a recent day, metallic blue nail polish.
Before she operates, just as the general anesthetic is being administered, Esserman sings the patient's requested song. A talented musician with a voice for opera, Esserman delivers songs as varied as "Don't You Fret" from "Les Miserables" to the Sarah Palin rap from "Saturday Night Live."
"It's all about equalizing the relationship between doctor and patient and putting people at ease," said Esserman, head of breast cancer research and treatment at UCSF's Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center and the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Care Center at Mount Zion Hospital. "You can't always alter biology, but you can alter the process, and make a difference in your patients' lives."
Esserman, born in Chicago and raised in Miami in a family of four children, was mesmerized by science as a young girl. Esserman's father was an auto dealer - and still is at 82 - and her mother taught school.