If you ask Dr. Coty Ho, cancer care is a team sport. “When a patient is diagnosed with cancer, it’s not just one physician they see. We have a multidisciplinary group. We always emphasize that more heads are better than one.”
In addition to a medical oncologist like Ho, who can coordinate a patient’s overall care, handle the chemotherapy regimen, and manage long-term goals, patients at Desert Regional’s Comprehensive Cancer Center have access to a radiation oncologist, a surgical oncologist, and pathologists.
“Everybody gets together to discuss the case and what we think would be the best approach to help the patient,” says Ho, adding that social workers and nutritionists often get involved too.
While Ho can work with patients battling all types of cancer, he focuses on solid tumors and gastrointestinal malignancies, and his passion is research, which is why he relishes his position as medical director of the oncology research program. “If you’re going to spend your life doing something, it’s extremely worthwhile to do cancer research,” he says. “You can help so many people. It’s so far-reaching, and it covers every organ in the body. It’s an exciting specialty.”
One fascinating aspect of his field these days is immunotherapy, which can help the immune system attack cancer cells, resulting in a more targeted treatment and less toxicity to the patient. “When I finished my fellowship in 1999, there was a lot of gloom and doom within the specialty,” Ho says. “But this is now one of the best areas because we have so much ammunition.”
VIDEO: Dr. Coty Ho talks about his passion for cancer research.