My name is John Han-Chih Chang. I am the Medical Director of Clinical Research and Education at Oklahoma Proton Center.
When I was in 8th grade, my grandfather passed away from advanced lymphoma despite receiving the very best treatment at one of the best cancer centers in America. It was then that I vowed to make a difference. In college, I initially chose the path of a researcher working in laboratories looking for treatments to combat bladder and breast cancers. I began work with a radiation oncology resident who was doing his research year in the lab. He convinced me to join him for a day in his clinic. This was at the time when the technology of radiation oncology was in its rapid growth phase. After I realized I could pair my passion for helping cancer patients with my love of technological advances, I was hooked. That day launched my drive to be a physician and more specifically a radiation oncologist.
The very first thing you are taught as a radiation oncologist is that our primary responsibility is to deliver radiation to the tumor while causing as little damage to the surrounding healthy tissue as possible. The rest of our education is spent learning how to do that.
Precision medicine, such as proton therapy, is what allows us to accomplish this goal in ways we had only previously imagined. It became my mission to share these advancements to the best of my ability. Over the past decade I have had the privilege of helping bring proton therapy to Chicago, establishing the proton therapy program at Vanderbilt University, and joining the leaders at Oklahoma Proton Center to ensure patients in Oklahoma and the southwest have continued access to proton therapy.
Radiation oncology is a treatment people cannot be without. Proton radiation therapy is the way to provide appropriate patients with the best possible cancer treatments.