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Talks with Docs: Deborah Stephens, DO

Video Transcript

It's always a practice. We call it the practice of medicine and some days I'm better at balance than others.

My name is Deborah Stephens and I'm an assistant professor of the department of internal medicine. I am also the physician co-leader of the hematology clinical trials.

Why Huntsman Cancer Institute?

I came here for my first interview, I was very impressed with all the people here, and the kindness, and the collaboration, and the vision, and then, also, I had never been to Utah before and I came here and I was amazed at how beautiful it is and I love the outdoors. So, this was a great location for both work wise and my personal life.

How do you talk to patients about their cancer?

I like to make drawings—I call it my chicken scratches—while we're talking. The kind of cancers that I treat are not the most common cancers, so a lot of patients coming into my clinic have never heard of lymphoma before. I find that really helps people understand what kind of cancer they have and what we need to do to treat it. 

What do you learn from your patients?

People who are faced with cancer or, faced with a life-threatening condition, have really unique outlooks on life and on the world in general and I very much appreciate my patients sharing those with me because I learn a lot about what's really important to them. I always find the quote that always sticks with me is that, "People don't care about how much you know until they know how much you care," and I think that that's really guides how I practice medicine because I really want my patients to know I'm really caring for them in whole not just a specific part of them. 

When you’re not being a doc what do you like to do?

I really love to travel and I have always traveled very extensively. Actually, how I met my husband is we were both on vacation in Greece. We met and I actually remember telling him, "Have a nice life," and here we are seven years later, married, and we have a kid.

Deborah Stephens traveling in Europe

How has becoming a parent changed you?

It just shows how fragile life is. To me it makes the world seem more dangerous because now I'm much more worried about making sure seatbelts are tight, making sure all the other drivers around me are driving safe. This is my first child and I never knew what a joy it is just to have somebody who you love from day one.

Learn more about lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Cancer touches all of us.