Dr. Marla Lander chose a career in medicine because the body has always intrigued her. “I wanted to know how it worked and how to cure it when it was sick,” she says. “It was natural for me to go into radiology, and then into breast radiology specifically. I have a very strong family history of breast cancer on both sides of the family, so it was an issue that I’ve been dealing with since I was very young.”
Her work makes her feel as well as she hopes to make her patients. “I care about the work I do, so I’m going to give my patients my best all the time, and I think they feel it,” Lander says. “One of the most special things about my practice is how many times I’m hugged every day. Not too many people in this world get that.”
After completing her radiology residency at University of California, Irvine, Lander was invited to train with renowned mammographer Dr. Laszlo Tabar in Sweden.
Lander opened a private breast center in the Coachella Valley in 1997, and later moved to her current practice at Desert Regional Medical Center. Research factors into her practice, and she also teaches and lectures internationally.
“A special interest of mine is automated 3-D breast ultrasound, which I’ve been doing since 2005, working closely with a company to evolve a system that is very user-friendly to the patient, technologist, and to the physician,” she says. “It’s going to revolutionize our specialty.”
Landers and her family live on a ranch in Palm Desert, complete with horses, a rescued donkey, and two retired show llamas. “My lifestyle and view of medicine are very closely coupled,” she says, adding that she had considered becoming a veterinarian before choosing radiology. “I’m interested in the whole health of the individual. I’m looking at them for their overall physical health, mental health, and spiritual health. That’s something that I constantly work on with myself.”
In addition to good nutrition and adequate sleep, she says, “exercise has to be part of your life, no matter what age you are. Here at the ranch, I try to incorporate an exercise program of aerobics and weights, and I’m raising my sons to do the same.”