Meet Dr. Shenin Sachedina, Surgeon, Author
Dr. Shenin Sachedina is a breast surgeon in Winter Park Florida. She has been in practice since 1995. She is also the author of a children’s book called Metu and Lee Learn About Breast Cancer. This is a one-of-a-kind book that helps children ages 5 and above understand breast cancer with characters like Chemo Commando and Radiation Rod. She is actively involved in education for the community in breast cancer issues, and makes frequent media appearances that are a part of this effort to educate the community on issues related to breast cancer, and women’s health.
Here’s her story:
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I am often asked how I deal with a career that has all the emotional and physical challenges associated with a high oncology practice…my response is that I feel so blessed to have a job that when I give someone a diagnosis of breast cancer, I can immediately be able to help them with the crisis. In other words, I am physically able to help them by taking care of the tumor, and initiate the treatment. How may other jobs can you actually give someone bad news and say that I can help, really help them, to get their health back. I enjoy the interaction with families of my patients. It is amazing to watch patients deal with their disease, and appreciate the human spirit and strength that one sees in these patients and their families.
With so many specialties in medicine, why did you go into the field of breast health?
When I was deciding on a field to pursue, breast health was not even a consideration. But as I was finishing my general surgical training, I realized that being a female general surgeon, I would be seeing a lot of breast patients. So I decided to spend some time at M.D. Anderson in Houston. As fate would have it, I was put on the service of a physician named Dr. Eva Singletary. She was amazing and she inspired me . When I was done with my time on her service, I knew that this was a field that I would love, that I would really be able to impact with my interests in teaching, technology, and women’s health care. With breast disease and breast cancer, there is always changing treatments,and technology that keeps this field exciting.
What’s the most important thing a woman should know about breast health?
That they need to be an active participant in their own health care. That a if they have a problem( i.e. a mass or a change in their breast appearance etc), and if they get a mammogram that is normal, they still need to get an evaluation for their problem. Mammograms miss up to 6 to 10 percent of cancers. In dense breast tissue, the percentage of a missed cancer can even be higher than that.
Tell us what inspired you to write the Metu and Lee series and about the Foundation you set up to help middle class families dealing with cancer.
As I dealt with families with young children when a woman or a man was diagnosed with breast cancer, I realized that there were little or no resources to help patients talk to their children. I would have families bring their children into my office, and I would educate the children essentially giving them the information that is presented in the book. So, I decided to write the book so that the information that my patients families were getting, I could put out their to help others.
The proceeds from the book go to a children’s oncology fund called the Metu and Lee Fund. This fund helps working families with children diagnosed with ANY form of cancer. The idea is to help these families when they go from two incomes to one since one parent is home dealing with the sick child. Since most of the time this is unexpected, and if the families have no resources in their savings account, they can quickly go under with the mounting day to day bills. So the fund was set up to thru the Community Foundation of Central Florida to help these families. The request needs to come from a non profit organization on behalf of the patient’s families. The request needs to be made to the Community Foundation directly. We are hoping to have this fund funded by the end of this year for the money to go out.
What other organizations do you support? And why?
I have been very involved in a number of organizations like Komen Foundation, and others. The list is quite extensive. But I support organizations with two common themes…education, and children’s issues. My feeling is that by my participation in these two areas, I can have the strongest impact.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
My life has been a series of events that have taken me to places, personally and professionally, that I would never have imagined. I am not, and have never been , the type to say ” at 5 years I want to…”. My life is like a path on a stream…it flows to where it needs to go, and to help who ever needs assistance.
What’s the one thing you’d like to accomplish before you leave this world?
I would like to make sure that my children have stepped on every continent on this earth. My doing this, I hope to show them that there are a lot of people in this world that suffer, and hope that they will realize that they have the potential to impact thru their education, and resources.
What do you do for fun, relaxation?
We have a place on the ocean that I love to relax in.
Do you have a secret indulgence? If so, what is it?
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
My goal is to live a balanced life…this is my goal. When will I reach it, only god knows!!
You can read more about Dr. Sachedina at http://www.mybreastdoc.com/