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Texas Oncology–Medical City Dallas (Building D) Welcomes Dr. Pamela Hayes

August 19, 2020

Pamela Hayes, M.D., medical oncologist, is now seeing patients at Texas Oncology–Medical City Dallas (Building D). She shares her perspective on breakthroughs in research and her background in cancer care.

Where did you go to medical school and complete your residency?

Once I got to Texas, I couldn’t fathom leaving so all my schooling has been here. I completed my undergrad studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Afterward, I attended the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston for medical school and completed residency and fellowship at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.

Do you have any family members in the medical field?

I am the first M.D. in my family. However, my father has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. In the future, I am hoping to convince my younger sisters to pursue medicine.

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

I’m going to cheat and name two things. First, next-generation sequencing, which is the ability to quickly analyze DNA and identify patient-specific mutations. This has revolutionized targeted therapy. We are better able to tailor treatment to our patient's specific gene alterations and are seeing increased effectiveness while reducing toxicity. Along these lines, my second answer would be checkpoint inhibitors. This new class of drugs has been exciting for both patients and physicians. We are learning to unlock the body's natural cancer-fighting ability. I am looking forward to the future as we continue to pursue the holy grail of therapy that is tough on cancer while gentle on patients.

Where is your favorite place you’ve ever visited?

It's hard to pick, but mountain climbing in British Columbia is a memory I will hold forever. I have never had to redefine my concept of "physically impossible" as often as I did while hanging off a mountain face. Catching a double rainbow near the summit was just icing on the cake.

I may not be able to make a big difference in the grand scheme of cancer, but I can make a difference in the lives of my patients and their loved ones."

Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you?

My favorite quote, it honestly makes me a bit emotional when I think about, is from The Starfish Story. In short, a child throws starfish back into the sea after they’ve been washed up by a storm. When the child is asked why they do this and told that there are too many starfish to save, he responds, “I made a difference to that one.” I take this to heart when I work with my patients. I may not be able to make a big difference in the grand scheme of cancer, but I can make a difference in the lives of my patients and their loved ones.

For upcoming webinars visit www.TexasOncologyFoundation.org.