Meet Dr. Saad Khan

A diagnosis of cancer is stressful for a patient. Saad Khan, M.D., a medical oncologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center who focuses on head and neck cancers and lung cancer, believes communication is the key to overcoming anxiety.

"One thing I always like to do with patients is just talk. I think having the opportunity to speak in an unhurried environment with someone who's listening is very useful," Dr. Khan says.

Dr. Khan takes the time to develop relationships with his patients so they can ask any difficult questions that might be on their mind – questions like, “How long will I live?” or “What should I expect during the course of my treatment?”

My ultimate goal is to come up with better treatments for patients.”

Even after their chemotherapy, Dr. Khan wants his patients to stay in touch so he can make sure they don't develop any problems later with speech and swallowing – common long-term side effects from head and neck cancer treatment.

In addition to his work with patients, Dr. Khan spends significant time researching new approaches to treating cancer. His research includes creating drugs that offer targeted therapy based on each patient's specific cancer, in the hope that personalized care will help patients get better more quickly and with fewer side effects.

He also is spearheading clinical trials at UT Southwestern and is developing new treatments to advance care for head and neck cancer.

Uniting patient care and science offers him better insight into how cancer behaves.

"With a better understanding of cancer, we can translate that into clinical trials and better treatments," he says.