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Radiation oncology: the perfect balance of mind and heart

By The Health News Team | February 18, 2020
Radiation oncology: the perfect balance of mind and heart

Dr. Lori Coleman is a radiation oncologist at the Douglas & Nancy Barnhart Cancer Center at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center.

When Dr. Lori Coleman was a premed undergraduate student studying bioengineering at UC San Diego, she had no idea the field of radiation oncology would hold a meaningful, fulfilling future for her. In fact, she didn’t even know it existed.

After graduating summa cum laude, Dr. Coleman learned about the field of radiation oncology. And as she learned more, she realized she not only had the mind that was needed, but also the heart.

“The field of radiation oncology was a perfect balance for me,” says Dr. Coleman. “Because of my engineering background, I was not put off by the technical component of the field. I loved that I could care for patients of all ages and help them through what is often the scariest time of their life.”

With more than 20 years of experience, most of which she spent as a medical director, Dr. Coleman is now a radiation oncologist affiliated with the Douglas & Nancy Barnhart Cancer Center at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, where she cares for patients with a wide range of physical and emotional needs — including some that are very complex and difficult. Dr. Coleman previously practiced mostly in San Diego’s North County, but recently relocated to the South Bay. Now part of the Barnhart Cancer Center family, Dr. Coleman is enjoying getting to know the community and what makes her patients special.

“I try to give my all in delivering the best possible treatment for my patients, but the other equally important part of what I do is caring about them as human beings and prioritizing what matters most to them,” says Dr. Coleman. “Our patients are so strong and so thankful. I have also been impressed at how involved the whole family becomes in the care of their loved ones here in the South Bay.”

While patients are thankful for Dr. Coleman, she is thankful for how far radiation oncology has advanced technically.

“The field of radiation oncology has advanced significantly over the past several decades,” says Dr. Coleman. “The technology and treatment options have become much more sophisticated, allowing us to deliver treatment more precisely and often with less side effects due to more accurate tumor targeting. There are brilliant minds working on further advancements, making this an exciting time to be part of the treatment of cancer. That is great news for patients, families and physicians.”

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