Mission Hope Cancer Center Adds New Surgical Breast Oncologist

SANTA MARIA, Calif .– A brand new surgical breast oncologist has joined the team at Mission Espoir cancer center in Sainte-Marie.

Dr Colleen O’Kelly has just completed her first week on the job after moving to the Central Coast from Binghamton, New York.

“I’m really happy to be here,” said O’Kelly. “I feel a lot more at home on the West Coast, or the best coast as I like to call it, but I’m really looking forward to meeting a lot of people and helping a lot of people here in this community, and I I’m just happy to be here. “

The northern California native graduated from Stanford University and received her medical degree from the University of Nevada School of Medicine. She completed her medical residency in general surgery at the University of Washington, followed by subspecialty training in surgical breast oncology at the University of Southern California.

O’Kelly said working during the pandemic in New York made it clear that she needed to return to the Golden State, where she could be closer to her family.

“When I was looking for positions here on the West Coast, this one caught my eye,” said O’Kelly. “What I liked was how incredibly warm everyone was when I spoke to them and how passionate everyone seemed about cancer care and about really taking care of it. community, which is very important to me. “

At Mission Hope, she will fill the post left vacant when Dr. Monica Rocco, who helped open Mission Hope in 2012, returned home to Austin, Texas.

“I’m certified in General Surgery, then I did some additional subspecialty training in Breast Cancer Surgery, so that’s all I do,” O’Kelly said. “I see all breast disease, from benign nodules to advanced aggressive breast cancers, and I can treat them all surgically, so I am the one doing the lumpectomy or mastectomy, taking care of the lymph nodes under the arm,” that’s what I do.”

O’Kelly said that as Mission Hope’s breast cancer oncologist, she is eager to make a big difference in the community.

“One of the things they really emphasized was how essential multidisciplinary breast cancer care is here,” O’Kelly said. “I already saw this in my first tumor chart yesterday, with the radiation oncologist and the medical oncologist and myself as the surgeon-oncologist, with the pathologists and the radiologist, everyone getting together, even with nurses and research coordinators. all of them are working together to ensure that the patient receives the best possible care, and that is phenomenal. You don’t get this everywhere, and so I really appreciate it. “

O’Kelly starts her new job just three weeks before Hope day, the annual community fundraiser for Mission Hope patients.

Now in its eighth year, Hope Day features teams of volunteers who sell special edition Santa Maria Times newspapers for $ 1 throughout the community.

All profits go directly to patient services.

“I’m really excited about this,” O’Kelly said. “Everything I’ve heard about Hope Day is so cool about how the community really comes together to support all cancer patients who need help, and I love being a part of the organization running this, and getting everyone involved, and so I feel very proud and honored to be a part of it. “

Hope Day is scheduled for Wednesday August 4, 2021.

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