Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Top Doctor: Dr. Andrew Buresh

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ONCOLOGIST

Medical school: University of Nebraska College of Medicine, MD, with distinction, class of 1999

Years in practice: I've practiced in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area for eight years.

What lifestyle changes do you recommend to patients to help prevent recurrence of cancer?
That really depends on the type of cancer. For example, with breast cancer, lifestyle changes would include maintaining an ideal body weight, regular exercise, and limiting or eliminating alcohol consumption. In general, I recommend to cancer survivors a healthy, well-balanced diet; regular exercise; smoking cessation if applicable; limiting alcohol intake; adequate rest; and, to the extent possible, reducing stress in everyday life. Of course, that's in addition to regular checkups and follow-up exams.

Can you envision a day when we have a cure for cancer?
Yes, eventually. I'm not sure if that will be in 25 or 50 years, but I hope to see it in my lifetime. We will ultimately prevail in this fight. In the next decade or two, I think through appropriate screening strategies we'll be able to identify at-risk patients and catch more and more cancers in their earlier, curable stages. Some patients will still require additional therapy after primary treatment, and with the continued development of targeted therapies and radiation techniques, we'll improve cure rates further. And even if some patients aren't ultimately 'cured' in the traditional sense, I think we'll see those patients receiving a combination of biologic agents targeted to that individual's particular type of cancer (personalized medicine) that will render it a chronic disease, rather than a fatal one.

What distinguishes your practice from others?
At Desert Springs Cancer Care, we try to take care of our patients the way we would want to be treated, or would want one of our family members to be treated. We're the only oncology practice located north of the Loop 101, in a calm and peaceful office setting. We also offer in-house PET/CT and CT imaging. There is a strong sense of community and family in our office. We have an amazing, caring, friendly staff that goes out of its way to make sure each patient gets his or her needs met. In fact, several staff members are cancer survivors themselves. I think communication is very important, and we excel at that. We realize that nobody actually wants to be in the oncologist's office, but we try to make the patient experience as reasonably pleasant as possible. Our overall practice philosophy really just comes down to "Do unto others."