Meet Dr. Sam Wang
As a researcher and clinician at UT Southwestern Medical Center, surgical oncologist Sam Wang, M.D., wants a better future for his patients.
In pursuit of that goal, he strives to translate his research findings to improve the lives of his patients with gastrointestinal cancers of the liver, pancreas, stomach, and bile duct.
He has a particular focus on liver and pancreas cancer. His current research seeks to understand the biology of these malignancies in order to develop new classes of therapy for patients.
The survival rates for patients with these diseases have not improved in the past decades despite marked improvement in diagnostic modalities and surgical techniques. Many patients still present with metastatic disease, and the options for treatment are limited. Dr. Wang wants to change that.
“As a physician as well as a basic scientist, my goal is to make discoveries that are clinically relevant to patients,” he says. “With every project, I think about how it could lead to faster diagnosis or a better therapy. And the time I spend with my patients helps me focus my research on what’s clinically important and helps me better understand what can really make a difference.”
In the operating room, Dr. Wang is skilled in traditional and minimally invasive techniques, including robotics. He evaluates each patient to determine the best surgical approach to his or her tumor and works with the larger GI cancer team to treat patients when surgery is not an immediate option.
Dr. Wang knows that a diagnosis of pancreas cancer or any GI cancer can be frightening. He makes sure he spends time with each of his patients and their families, explaining their disease and dispelling myths about treatments.
“The GI Surgical Oncology team works together to help our patients and their families get through this process,” Dr. Wang says. “In addition to medical or surgical treatment, we also guide and support and let patients know what they can expect. It’s a big team effort.”