Dr. Eugene Huang, fulltime physician of the Southeast Radiation Oncology Center in Juneau, explains how they target cancer cells with radiation beamed from a linear accelerator at their center in October 2014.

Dr. Eugene Huang, fulltime physician of the Southeast Radiation Oncology Center in Juneau, explains how they target cancer cells with radiation beamed from a linear accelerator at their center in October 2014.

Huang named as Cancer Connection’s Medical Provider of the Year

Dr. Eugene Huang, a full-time physician at Southeast Radiation Oncology Center, recently won the Medical Provider of the Year Award from Cancer Connection, the local non-profit organization that assists people living with cancer, their families and provides support systems. He will be honored at the Celebration of Life event on June 3 at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center from 4:30-7 p.m.

Huang received his oncology training at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the #1 ranked cancer hospital in the world. He has won numerous awards for his research in breast and prostrate cancer, serves as a scientific peer reviewer of leading medical journals and has published more than 40 scientific publications.

The Empire caught up with Huang to ask him a couple questions about his work with cancer treatment in Juneau.


You were recently chosen as the Medical Provider of the Year by Juneau’s Cancer Connection. How did you get nominated for the award?

We have worked very closely with Cancer Connection for over two years since opening our center in December 2013. Cancer Connection has been integral part in helping so many of our patients from all over Southeast Alaska get access to the care that they need. It was very considerate of them to nominate me for this award.


What are the qualities all medical providers should strive to exemplify for excellent patient care?

I think the best way to answer this is from a patient’s perspective. As a patient, I would always appreciate when my doctor is kind and knowledgeable, and when I feel they have my best interests at heart. Our patients and their loved ones are putting a great deal of trust in our hands, and it is a real privilege and honor for us to be a part of their care. I try to keep this in mind and strive to treat them as I would my own family.


What made you decide to pursue oncology as a career?

My mother was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer when I was in medical school. It was successfully treated with a combination of surgery, hormone therapy and radiation therapy. This was my first real interaction with an oncology team, and it sparked my interest in this field. Watching my mom go through the journey gave me insight into a patient’s perspective and what their families go through. I love that we really get to know patients as individuals every day over several weeks, and then continue to follow them over many years. I also love that we are part of a close-knit team including our nurses, radiation therapists, medical physicists and dosimetrists – as well as other physician colleagues and caregivers.


Where would you like to see cancer care in Alaska head in the future?

I love that Southeast Alaskans can now receive exceptional cancer care so close to home. I’m also excited to welcome the medical oncology (chemotherapy) team into our center starting next month. In the very near future patients can expect an even more integrated approach to their care right here in town.


Who are your favorite heroes, fictional or real? Have any of them ever inspired you in your work/life?

I’m actually watching a documentary about a renowned pianist and teacher named Seymour Bernstein that really resonates with me (as I’ve been playing the piano almost my entire life). He pours into his students the idea that music emulates the very core of what makes life great through an emotional connection with the audience. I feel that it’s that human connection, whether through music or our work, that’s truly inspirational and keeps me going.

Know of a community member who has made a notable accomplishment? Contact neighbors@juneauempire.com to share.

• Contact Clara Miller at 523-2243 or at clara.miller@juneauempire.com.

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