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Muhammad Beg, M.D. Answers Questions On GI Cancer

Muhammad Beg, M.D. Answers Questions On: GI Cancer

You wear a lot of hats at work. How do you stay focused?

My patients have a lot invested in me, and I focus on what’s best for them. I had a patient who was participating in the early stages of a clinical trial. By hook or by crook, his family always brought him in for treatments. They knew we were doing research, looking for cures and new treatments, and it became evident that he wasn’t doing well.

His family didn’t have a lot of money, but they appreciated the care they got and they wanted to help in some way. So they gave us a check for a modest amount as a token of their appreciation. That was very symbolic, and it told me how much patients have invested in this. We always think of clinical trials as something we are investing our time in, but if it’s not affecting the patient, it’s not really a benefit at all.

What types of patients are more likely to develop GI cancers?

There’s a lot of diversity among GI cancer patients. It’s not the type of disease that affects just one race nor is it a female-predominant disease. And it’s not like lung cancer, which smokers are more likely to get. It can really impact anybody, and your genes have a lot to do with it.

Are there any new treatments coming up for GI cancers?

I believe GI cancer will have a lot of progress in the next few years, and I want to be a part of it.

There are some new medications that will probably be approved for colon cancer in the next few years. For pancreatic cancer patients, we’re looking at a medicine that can help them gain, rather than lose, weight. This medication was used to treat diabetes, but those patients didn’t like that it made them gain weight. So we’re trying to exploit that side effect for pancreatic cancer patients.