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Talks with Docs: Theresa Werner, MD

Video Transcript

You know a lot of people say, "Oh, you know, we collaborate very well." But I honestly believe it’s true here.

I'm a medical oncologist here at Huntsman Cancer Institute and I have the luxury of specializing in a small area of solid tumors, namely women's cancers, so gynecologic cancers, for example, ovary, endometrial, cervix cancer, and breast cancer as well. So almost all of my patients are women.

Theresa Werner and family on a hike

What have you learned from your patients?

I learn about the resiliency of the human spirit. How they deal with their cancer and their family and their job—it always amazes me. Many of them are working mothers and spouses. I think women are really good at multitasking in general.

I had a patient tell me "I'm not going to let cancer define me. I'll let it refine me." I just like that, you know, cancer's not all of what her life is about. It's changed her life.

How do you talk to your patients about clinical trials?

I explain to them that the way we know what treatments work for their cancer now is because patients before them agreed to participate on a clinical trial. The word clinical trials has a stigma. People think that they're not going to get the best treatment, or they're going to get something experimental and they worry about that. But I think it's our job as oncologists to sort of explain to them "this is an option for you." And why this is a good option and help them make an informed decision.

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

A lot of people don't know I like to cook and experiment with new recipes. I try to make it a priority to cook dinner two times a week for my family so that we can all sit down and have dinner together. I really enjoy cooking and my daughter has started cooking with me so that's another fun thing that we do.

Theresa Werner with husband and kids

Who would you trade lives with for a day?

I might be Michelle Obama for a day. I respect her as an educated, powerful woman who was married to a president but yet had her own agenda for advancing important things like diet and exercise for children. To sort of see what her life would be like behind the cameras and behind the press I think would be really interesting. She's a snappy dresser as well, so I wouldn't mind being Michelle Obama for a day.

What is the best part of working at Huntsman Cancer Institute?

A lot of people say, "Oh, you know, we collaborate very well," but I honestly believe it’s true here. I think people really respect the work hard, play hard aspect of things. People understand you have a life outside of work as well. There's not a more beautiful place to live than Utah and it's a wonderful place to raise a family. I've not only been happy in my job, but my family is happy here as well and that goes back to the fundamentals of this being a real community.

Theresa Werner recruits for clinical trials at Cancer Expo

Learn more about breast cancer care at Huntsman Cancer Institute.
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Theresa Werner, MD.

Cancer touches all of us.