Dr. Krushangi Patel Puts Her Healing Touch in Oncology
Dr. Krushangi Patel strives to be the most nurturing physician she possibly can be. Luckily for the East Bay Area, she has brought that caring nature to Epic Care, where she works in medical oncology and hematology at the Pleasant Hill office. Dr. Krushangi Patel came to the practice with years of experience looking after patients in major cities. Her interest in science began in childhood.
“I did a lot of science camps growing up and sort of pursued that,” she recalled. “It wasn’t until maybe about high school when I started to have more opportunity to work directly with people and patients and become hospice trained, and I really enjoyed those relationships and that component of bringing science to people. And so that’s how I then naturally transitioned into medicine.”
After graduating from the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Medicine, Dr. Krushangi Patel completed a residency at Banner University Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona, and a fellowship with the University of Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson. She spent about three years practicing medicine in Seattle before joining the Epic Care family last fall.
The move not only brought her closer to her own family but also gave her a chance to be part of a practice whose staff is “clearly dedicated to patient outcomes.” She appreciates that the Epic Care structure is community-led “rather than the bureaucratic and “business-y” in its structures” like she has seen in other medical groups. That approach was a major plus for her.
The Epic Care structure gives “me a perfect avenue to provide the care that I want to provide and that I think is best for the patient rather than what [I am] told needs to be provided by … an entity directing my decision-making” she said. “So I think the freedom to provide good care [and] being surrounded by people who are dedicated to the same thing that I’m dedicated to is how I chose to be part of Epic Care.”
At Epic Care, Dr. Krushangi Patel’s role as a medical oncologist and hematologist means she cares for patients with a wide range of medical issues. These diseases range from benign, malignant hematological problems to solid tumors. Her patients may have bleeding or blood-clotting disorders or need to undergo cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Epic Care offers cancer patients both those treatment options and newer biological and experimental therapies, with treatments delivered in state-of-the-art facilities.
“By and large, after that diagnosis has been made, our role is often to make a treatment plan and help families get through whatever it is that they’re going to face next, whether it’s a surgery [or] radiation or systemic therapy,” Dr. Krushangi Patel said. “And then we generally are also the ones who continue through survivorship, and so we’ll follow patients for many, many years afterward.”
The opportunity to have those strong, ongoing relationships with patients and their families drew Dr. Krushangi Patel to the field of medical oncology and hematology.
“We get to see sort of every component of what the patient and families are going through,” she said. “And so we are part of the whole gamut from the beginning all the way through survivorship, which is really nice.”
That has become her favorite part of her job, too.
“As we get to know each other, I think there develops a level of comfort, and I certainly strive to help create that with patients and families,” Dr. Krushangi Patel said.
“I like to have strong relationships with my patients. It also allows me to understand what they are hoping to gain from their care and treatment that I’m providing as well.”
Because oncology treatments are changing rapidly, she challenges herself constantly to learn new methods to ensure optimal patient care. Thanks to these more contemporary approaches to tackling cancer, physicians like Dr. Krushangi Patel are seeing their patients turn into long-term survivors.
“We have a lot more [treatment] options. This is really nice because we get to provide patients with the sort of immunotherapy that is hitting the front lines in care,” she said. “We’re seeing people live a lot longer. … We get to take care of them and their families for years.”
Watching her family members face various illnesses has given Dr. Krushangi Patel a well-rounded look at the health care world. This is something that significantly benefits those under her care, enabling her to approach her job from both a doctor’s and patient’s perspective.
“That definitely allows me to bring a unique component when taking care of families and patients,” Dr. Krushangi Patel said.
Additionally, having strong female role models and mentors to help her “navigate a very rigorous training process to get where I am today certainly helped make me who I am,” Dr. Krushangi Patel added.
As she settles into her new home in the Bay Area, Dr. Krushangi Patel looks forward to spending time with family living in the region and taking in the local art scene, as she enjoyed participating in classical dance and drama as a kid.
“There’s an opportunity for all of the arts here,” she said. “It’s great that I’m also very outdoorsy, which is how I went from Arizona to Seattle to here. “
“There have been so many great women physicians that really have paved the way for me and for everyone who’s coming after them,” she said. “So I think having personal experiences, seeing what other people have gone through, have helped me to be sort of both professionally strong and hopefully a very nurturing physician.”