Bryan Hambley, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Hematology & Oncology
Q: What made you decide to pursue a career in medicine and why did you choose this specialty?
I grew up on a small farm in southern Indiana and was very interested in service and working in my community, as well as science and where those two intersect. In college, I became drawn to medicine and individual work with patients, but also the amount of intellectual stimulation you can get in learning about a disease and working to apply it to individual patient’s problems.
Through medical school and residency, I became most interested in patients with blood cancers, mainly because there is a very intense relationship that develops between physicians and those patients. We see a small number of patients very frequently and they are often very sick during their acute illness, so I was drawn to those kinds of interactions.
Q: What’s one of the most rewarding experiences you have had in your career?
I’ve had the opportunity to be the primary physician for several patients with blood cancer who, at diagnosis, were very sick in the intensive care unit. I was able to meet them at their sickest when diag- nosed for both of these. I took them all the way through initial treatment for leukemia and their recovery and stem cell transplantation. Getting to see that entire course is one of the most gratifying things I’ve ever been through. I’d seen them at every phase of their disease. It was a wonderful set of experiences.
In training, especially for medical students, you’ll often see patients for one time period of their disease. But as I’ve become more senior, getting to see them throughout their course has given me a lot more perspective on each phase as they face these challenges.
Q: What’s one of the most challenging experiences you have had in your career?
I think it’s any time a patient comes in with goals that are reasonable, but we don’t know for sure if we are going to achieve them. The recognition at some point that the disease is going to be too resistant to therapy or it’s not responding to standard treatments — these are often with patients I’ve known for a year or two years through the course of their initial disease. That’s a hard conversation for everyone when it’s clear that this isn’t going to be a disease you can cure. Those are tough moments, but I wouldn’t trade those relation- ships we develop and all those interactions. It certainly makes it harder than if I didn’t know them so well.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Hambley, call 513.584.4268. For more information, visit www.uchealth.com/en/cancer-center.