May 22, 2018 1:00 PM

alvin kwok, MD, MPH

Video Trancript

When I see a patient go back and do all the things they were doing before and feel confident in what they're doing, it brings me a lot of fulfillment.

I'm a plastic surgeon but my interest specifically is breast reconstruction. So that's typically for patients who've had breast cancer and then to help them after their mastectomies to reconstruct their breasts.

What’s the best part of working at Huntsman Cancer Institute?

It's great fun to be part of a team of surgical oncologists, as well as oncologists, radiologists, radiation oncologists, and then we've got physical therapists as well as nutritionists and social workers who specialize in working with cancer patients. Traditionally in medicine we grow up in these little silos of our specialties but here those lines blur a little bit. If there's any concerns I can come right over to where we're meeting with the breast surgeon or the oncologist.

What can reconstructive surgery mean for patients?

What we do for reconstructive purposes really can help people from the psychosocial point of view. People feel like they conquered their cancer and they can also feel that they can resume their prior life and prior activities. Unlike some of the specialties we actually follow patients for quite a long time. We see them with their mastectomy. We see them through their mastectomy. We do parts of a reconstructive process duringthat time period and then when they finish their chemotherapy and/or radiation then we complete the reconstruction. Even after they recovered from all that we often see them years out down the road if there's any concerns with their reconstruction.

What are you up to on your days off?

I love food. If I could eat all day, I would eat all day, but I can't do that. I love cooking meat, so I like to barbecue. But we like to cook everything. We actually have a pasta bible and what we'll do is we'll flip through the pasta bible and pick something and try to cook that, so we like trying new things as well.

alvin kwok and his family eating dinner

What have you learned from your patients?

When you're confronted with a life-altering disease, sometimes you take things that you would have taken for granted, you appreciate them more and so I think as I go through my life, I pay attention to some of those little things that I would have otherwise taken for granted.

Learn more about breast cancer care at Huntsman Cancer Institute.

See Dr. Kwok's bio and schedule an appointment.

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