You know, once a patient has a diagnosis of cancer, you'll realize perspectives change. What's important—what you thought was important—is not so important anymore.
My name is Chakravarthy Reddy. I just go by Chak Reddy. I'm an interventional pulmonologist and a critical care doctor. So at the Huntsman I work for the Huntsman ICU and I also work with the lung cancer program, or thoracic oncology program, as an interventional pulmonologist. My role there is diagnosing, staging, and then managing patients with lung cancer.
What’s different about your role in lung cancer care at Huntsman Cancer Institute?
And interventional pulmonology was a brand new field like 15 years ago. There were about 10 or 15 interventional pulmonologists in the country at that time and there were only about four or five training programs. So when I first came here there were not any pulmonologists with a special interest in lung cancer.
Once I got here I took over, any new patient with a lung mass would get referred to me, and then I was the one who did the diagnosis, staging, and kind of freed up the oncologist to focus on the oncology part—not worrying about diagnosis and staging.
Who inspired you to become a doctor?
I grew up in a really small town in India. My mother was a physician. That's one of the reasons why I actually went into the field of medicine. She worked in a really small town and she used to do a lot of home visits and things like that. So while growing up, you know, being around with her, that's what kind of got me interested in the field. My mother, you know, she was the only female physician for almost like two or three counties in where I grew up. In India, you know, being the culture the way it is, women always want to go to, you know, female physicians. So even though she was not an OB/GYN she was more like family practice, but her practice was predominantly obstetrics. If she had to wake up in the middle of the night to deliver a baby—my father used to work for the government so he used to be traveling a lot—and so not wanting to leave me at home she would take me with her in the middle of the night too. So really vivid memories of waking up in the middle of the night, really sleepy walking with her to, you know, either to her clinic or to a patient's home to deliver a baby.
What’s something your colleagues or patients might not know about you?
I like to run. I'm a runner. I run marathons. So whenever I can get a chance, I run. I love traveling so I try to combine both of them —run marathons in really fun places. I've actually run on all seven continents. The marathon in Antarctica was fun and then I did a marathon at the North Pole a few years ago. It was a challenge getting there and then kind of, you know, like I said it wasn't fun running it, but it's something that you get to kind of enjoy now that you think about it.
What’s the best thing about working at Huntsman Cancer Institute?
Kind of connecting with people— trying to, you know, put the mind at ease because it's a brand new diagnosis for them. There's a lot of anxiety associated with that. You know, trying to work through and developing a good relationship with patients. That's probably the best. Yeah, it's always you know, once a patient has a diagnosis of cancer, you'll realize perspectives change. What's important, what you thought was important, is not so important anymore. The good thing for us is to kind of, you know, as you listen to those patients again and again you realize your own perspective starts changing.