Dr. Shane Lloyd is an Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Utah School of Medicine and Huntsman Cancer Institute. He is also the GI Associate Editor for Radiation Oncology at theMednet!
As many can attest, it is difficult to stand by and watch friends and family members go through treatment for cancer. Dr. Shane Lloyd got into medicine for that very reason: to help others suffering from illness. He loves making an impact and using science and data in his everyday work.
"I feel like every research project I've done has been memorable in that regard." Dr. Lloyd admits that cancer research is extremely labor-intensive, so it can be discouraging to put in so much effort and work on a project, without seeing immediate successes. It's a meticulous and slow-burning process. But when projects come to fruition, it's a fulfilling accomplishment.
Currently, Dr. Lloyd is working on a clinical trial for pancreatic cancers. The basic premise involves a hypofractionated course of radiation therapy: a middle-of-the-road option that favors neither traditional long-course treatments, which have not shown great efficacy, nor shorter-course stereotactic treatments, which do not deliver a very high dose of radiation, but instead a happy medium between the two. This is combined with Losartan, a common drug for blood pressure, which may help improve the efficacy of radiation and chemotherapy. The project began nearly 3 years ago, and just recently started enrolling patients.
Research is so important in medicine because it can revolutionize the way doctors treat their patients. Dr. Lloyd is painfully cognizant of the strain and hardship he puts on his patients when they undergo radiation therapy. And despite his and his staff's best efforts, sometimes patients have suboptimal outcomes. Since the beginning of his career, Dr. Lloyd has gradually developed an optimistic attitude, and a refined focus on the positive things in his life, and the lives of his patients.
"Empathy doesn't always come naturally in the beginning, especially when you are a young trainee who hasn’t experienced many hardships in life. Also, there's a lot of busywork and bureaucracy keeping you from your patients. It's important to take a few moments to reflect on the amazing support staff I work with and the patients I get to make connections with."
Dr. Lloyd de-stresses by habitually running and hiking outside, and skiing when he gets the opportunity. He also takes solace in the kindness and support of fantastic mentors from his residency: Dr. Roy Decker, Dr. James Yu, and Dr. Lynn Wilson, to name a few: "they all have a lot of passion for what they do, and they took time out of their busy lives to help someone else along the way and share their knowledge."
theMednet has allowed Dr. Lloyd to stay up to date on the latest expert opinions. "It’s a platform of working knowledge that changes quickly, and can be dependent on an expert more well-versed than the general population of oncologists. They’ve seen the bigger picture. It's great to see how those experts share their knowledge, and I love being a part of that process."