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Welcome Rachel Theriault, M.D., to Texas Oncology–Fort Worth Cancer Center

August 19, 2019

We’re proud to welcome medical oncologist Rachel Theriault, M.D., to the Texas Oncology–Fort Worth Cancer Center team. We sat down with Dr. Theriault to learn why she pursued a career in cancer care, and what keeps her motivated.

When did you decide you wanted to be a doctor? Do you have family members in the medical field?

My earliest memory of wanting to be a doctor was when I was four or five years old. At the time, my father was an internal medicine doctor in a small town in Missouri. I remember visiting his office at the hospital, meeting his staff, and playing with his stethoscope and thinking, “this ‘helping people feel better’ thing sounds good.”

After witnessing him work and later seeing how the doctors and nurses helped my grandparents through their cancer journeys, the desire to pursue this career continued to grow. Despite my best efforts to not follow so closely in my father’s footsteps, I’m proud to now call myself an oncologist.

What excites you most about joining Texas Oncology?

I am excited to join Texas Oncology because the organization’s mission aligns completely with my mission: to provide evidence-based and compassionate care for each individual patient, while striving to advance and improve care for future patients.

Witnessing the grace, compassion and courage of my patients as they live with their diagnoses never ceases to amaze me.”

In your opinion, what is the single most important breakthrough in cancer research to date, and how have you seen it change the course of treatment?

The most important breakthrough in cancer research during my career has been the development of immunotherapy. The ground-breaking research by Jim Allison, M.D., and Tasuku Honjo, M.D., for which they won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2018, is revolutionizing the field.

Who inspires you and why?

My patients and colleagues inspire me daily. I will never forget the glimpses of grace and humanity that I have been privileged to experience. Caring for patients has required me to deliver good and bad news; whether it’s a patient whose cancer has taken a turn for the worse or a mother welcoming a new baby boy during chemotherapy.

What advice would you give someone who is aspiring to be a doctor?

Being a physician is both incredibly rewarding and incredibly challenging. While it requires many sacrifices, including time away from friends and family or accruing student debt, earning and holding the trust of vulnerable patients to help them on their cancer journey is the greatest privilege. If that is your calling and passion, you will be successful.

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