Episode 49: Community healthcare, fitness, and cancer 101 with Dr. Christopher Terry

Did you know that the majority of Americans with cancer are treated in community oncology practices and not at academic medical centers? Community oncologist Dr. Chris Terry joins us this week as we discuss local oncology care benefits and successes, and the importance of physical activity during cancer treatment. Dr. Terry also shares the way he communicates with new cancer patients in his practice to ensure that they fully understand their diagnosis from the very beginning. He also shares his hopes for the future of oncology.

About our guest

Christopher Terry is originally from Pennsylvania, but recently set down roots in Rhode Island with his twin children, wife and two dogs. He is a values-driven physician leader who serves as the Medical Director of Hematology, Oncology and Infusion Services at Sturdy Health, a community-based healthcare organization in Attleboro, Massachusetts. Chris received his medical training in Philadelphia at Thomas Jefferson University and Rhode Island at Brown University. His expertise is in blood disorders and cancer, with a special interest in supportive care, as well as adolescent and young adult cancer. His love for sports led him to start an organization called Athletes Fighting Cancer, which improves the cancer experience through the power of sport by providing a team for support, exercise instruction and resources to strengthen the mind. Chris’ hobbies include soccer, golf, music and exploring new places. He enjoys spending time with friends and family, but especially loves being a dad.

Watch the video of our episode on YouTube

  • 9 minutes:

    “I was initially planning on doing academic medicine and then an opportunity came up for me to practice at a small community-based hospital and it kind of, no pun intended, but it hit home for me. It just felt like a good fit. In addition, I had amazing mentors that I had actually worked with during my training here already. It almost set that example of, you can get really good quality care close to home. You know, there are differences. We don't do clinical trials, but I think it's important for people to be able to get their care even at a local community hospital if it's possible. There is now a lot more collaboration between community-based hospitals and academic centers, even though we're not affiliated with one. I feel so supported by the doctors at Boston, at Rhode Island, you know, and I can call them and we can work together. I think that's also something that's probably changed in some of the ways that oncologists work together.”

  • 27 minutes:

    “I think it's also important to set expectations. So you may not be able to perform at the level that you are used to, and that's okay. You may need to take more of a break than you're used to, and that's okay also. You need to listen to your body, and while I'm going to encourage you to push yourself a little bit, I don't want you to push it too much. So I also encourage people to kind of listen to their body, find that balance, and understand that you can't always push your limits.”

  • 40 minutes:

    “So if I could choose the way that the oncology field would look like in the future, first I would hope that we have a cure for everything. Secondly, I would hope for that relationship [between clinicians and patients] to be better and more collaborative with not as many time constraints at least and a more holistic approach. So I don't think it's realistic to expect an oncologist to cover everything from a holistic standpoint. I think they need to be in tune with it and aware of it, but I think everybody should have a care team where we're addressing all the different needs and it shouldn't even be a question. You shouldn't have to search for those resources or those team members. They should be provided to you once that diagnosis is made.”

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