“ Don’t think about going through this alone. There is a wonderful community of other AYAs and those that care about AYA-specific issues. Get to know them.
Brandon Hayes-Lattin MD is one extraordinary mAss Kicker. He has a remarkable story as a physician turned testicular cancer patient. He graduated from The University of Washington in 1997 with his MD and has gone on to compete his fellowships from Oregon Health and Science University in both: Adult Bone Marrow Transplant AND Hematology and Medical Oncology. In 2006 he received a post doc certificate from the Human Investigations Program at Oregon Health and Science University. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology. He has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals such as:Annals of Oncology, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Journal of AYA Oncology, to name a few. He currently serves as the Chairman, on the interim Board of Directors for: Critical Mass: The Young Adult Cancer Alliance. He is also the Medical Director for the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology Program at Oregon Health and Science University, Knight Cancer Institute. He also serves as an Associate Professor of Medicine at Oregon Health and Science University. We were very lucky to find the time to chat with Dr. Hayes-Lattin.
mK: So Dr. Hayes-Lattin, why did you get involved in Young Adult oncology?
BHL: I was diagnosed with testicular cancer when I was 28, and even though I was a physician, I learned a lot of new facts about AYA (Adolescent and Young Adult) cancers, survival trends, practical issues and support. I became part of a community of folks who wanted to make it better for other AYAs.
mK: What do you think are the goals of young adult survivor movement?
BHL: Critical Mass: The Young Adult Cancer Alliance, is the new non-profit entity to grow out of the former Lance Armstrong Foundation program (the LIVESTRONG Young Adult Alliance). We have 4 goals:
1. Serve as the unified voice for the AYA cancer movement.
2. Create a collaborative environment for AYA cancer
professionals and advocates.
3. Establish AYA cancer programs in US medical institutions.
4. Organize and provide access to comprehensive data on AYA cancer.
mK: Great! As a physician, what do you find is the most common complaint you hear from young adult tumor/cancer patients?
BHL: I think most young adults are concerned that their oncology team doesn’t understand them. Whether that’s recognizing a cancer diagnosis early, providing expert care for AYA cancer types, paying attention to life-changing details such as fertility, or helping them connect to other AYAs, patients want age-appropriate care.
mK: What is the mission of Critical Mass?
BHL: At Critical Mass: The Young Adult Cancer Alliance, our mission focuses on serving AYA’s diagnosed with cancer by:
mK: Sounds great! So personally, what motivates you?
BHL: Years ago, I rode in a cross-country bicycle ride for cancer clinical trial awareness called the Tour of Hope. One of my teammates said something very simple yet very profound when asked why he was doing this crazy ride. He said, “I can ride, and so I do ride.”
For me, I feel privileged to be in a position where I can ride my bike… and so I do, gratefully. It is the same with medicine. I am privileged to have the training and environment to work towards making improvements in cancer care for AYAs… and so I do.
mK: What makes you laugh, cry, angry?
BHL: laugh-my kids. cry-seeing people suffer. angry-making the same mistakes twice.
mK: What is your guilty pleasure?
BHL: Double 12 ounce non-fat lattes
mK: At least they’re “non-fat”. Hee hee… What do you like to do in your spare time?
BHL: Every moment I’m not working I’m either skiing, biking, or watching my kids play soccer.
mK: Who is your hero, who do you look up to?
BHL: Hero is a tall order, but I look up to many folks. Mostly colleagues I’ve met through work at OHSU, at the Lance Armstrong Foundation, and at Critical Mass.
mK: How did you end up in Oregon anyways?
BHL: My wife grew up in Portland, and her family still lives here. We moved to Portland after our daughter was born, and since we can ski and ski race here 11 months out of the year, we stayed!
mK: I see that skiing was a big draw for you! What would you say is the most interesting thing you’ve EVER done?
BHL: Crash going 80+ miles per hour in a downhill ski race… and survive.
mK: Yikes! That’s pretty gutsy! If you weren’t a physician, what would you want to do for a living?
BHL: Coach ski racing full-time (instead of part-time).
mK: What advice would you give a newly diagnosed young adult patient?
BHL: Don’t think about going through this alone. There is a wonderful community of other AYAs and those that care about AYA-specific issues. Get to know them.
mK: Tell us something people probably didn’t know about you… anything.
BHL: I played on the golf team in high school…
mK: “Big surprise” there… a physician playing golf… j/k… hahaha! Any parting words for all the mAss Kickers?
BHL: Glad to be one of you, kickin’ mAss!
Thanks for spending time with us Dr, Hayes-Lattin! We look forward to seeing the progress of Critical Mass! Unity is an important step in the war against these horrible diseases! mAss Kickers Foundation is glad to join forces with you and form a “Kick mAss” T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Accomplishes More.)