OHSU Physician/Cancer Survivor to Ride for the Roses

03/12/01    Portland, Ore.

Oncologist-in-training raising money for Lance Armstrong Foundation

Brandon Hayes-Lattin's wish was to help people by becoming a doctor. In May 1998, while working as an internal medicine resident at Oregon Health Sciences University, he was diagnosed with early-stage testicular cancer.

Hayes-Lattin endured the agony of coping with a cancer diagnosis, then underwent surgery to remove the cancer. Like two-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, Hayes-Lattin sees OHSU's Craig Nichols, M.D., head of the Division of Hematology and Oncology, for his follow-up care. An avid cyclist himself, Hayes-Lattin has made a full recovery from the cancer.

Today he has a different mission in life. After completing his internal medicine residency last June, Hayes-Lattin decided to practice in the field of cancer care - oncology. He now spends his free time educating others about health risks and talking to patients and physicians about cancer survivorship.

"My experience gives me a unique perspective about what cancer patients face both during and after treatment," said Hayes-Lattin. "I chose oncology because I realized that the care of cancer patients goes beyond chemotherapy. It involves innumerable psychosocial issues as well as other medical concerns like secondary malignancies and the lasting effects of treatment."

Hayes-Lattin's experience has affected his activities outside the hospital setting. He has been a contributor to the online Testicular Cancer Resource Center and will be a panelist at this year's Ride for the Roses, an annual charity event benefiting the Lance Armstrong Foundation in Austin, Texas. Hayes-Lattin will sit alongside Armstrong on the panel titled "The Faces of Cancer Survivorship," where he will offer his perspective as a physician and survivor. He also will ride his bike alongside Armstrong in the 100-kilometer ride by having raised more than $5,000 for the Foundation.

"The money goes to cancer research, education and survivor support," said Hayes-Lattin. "As a doctor, I appreciate the importance of basic science and education, but as a survivor, I also recognize the need to focus on survivor services. Today more than 80 percent of patients with cancer of the breast, uterus, prostate, testis or thyroid can expect to live at least five years from their diagnosis. These patients face cultural biases about cancer when re-entering their careers, financial contracts and relationships. They face concerns about late side effects from treatment like infertility and organ dysfunction, and live with fear of cancer recurrence or development of secondary malignancies. Unfortunately, their doctors often don't have data to aid in considering these issues when choosing therapies, designing follow-up strategies or confronting the effects of treatment.

"Cancer survivors also face questions about why they survived while others with the same diagnosis died, and when they can feel safe to once again plan for the future. The money raised by the Lance Armstrong Foundation funds programs directed at these evolving issues for survivors, and that's why it's important to me that I take part."

The Ride for the Roses weekend takes place April 6-8. To learn more about the Lance Armstrong Foundation or to contribute by sponsoring Hayes-Lattin's ride, visit the Foundation's Web site at www.laf.org or call 512 236-8820.