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Talks with Docs: Cindy Matsen, MD

Video Transcript

I really like taking care of other women. I like forming relationships with them. I like getting to know who they are and why it is that they choose to do the things that they do.

I'm Cindy Brown Matsen, I am a breast surgical oncologist here at Huntsman Cancer Institute.

What do you enjoy about being a surgeon?

There's a very gratifying immediacy to what you can do for people. You see something bad, you take it out, and you say, "that felt really good to take that out, and now this person is going to do better and live longer."

Why is treating women important to you?

It was important to me for a lot of reasons and a lot of that has to just do with like the people that, you know, you see around you that are your friends, and your mothers, and your sisters. I really like taking care of other women. I like forming relationships with them. It felt like a place where I could really make a difference and make an impact and where I could be highly valued. 

What’s something your patients might not know about you?

I'm type 1 diabetic, so that gives me an interesting perspective on what it means to live with an illness long-term, or a disease. In many ways, especially in breast cancer, because the majority of patients are going to do well and are going to live for long periods of time, and they have to live with their diagnosis for the rest of their life, so it almost shifts into more of a chronic illness.

We heard you love fantasy novels. Do you have a favorite character?

My very favorite from Lord of the Rings is Samwise Gamgee. He's not the one that's at the front that's like, "Hey, I'm the guy carrying the ring, I'm the, you know, the person that's gonna save the day," but without him, none of it would have been possible.

What have you learned from your patients?

They almost all have these wonderful support systems and they have people that come with them to their appointments. I usually meet them at their first appointment, when they've just been newly diagnosed. The people that are around them are oftentimes even more worried than they are about what's gonna happen.

There are certain things that you will go through in life that you really shouldn't do alone, even if you could do them alone.

Learn more about breast cancer.

Cancer touches all of us.