Dr. Saima Saeed
Medical director of CTCA Outpatient Care Centers in Scottsdale, North Phoenix and Gilbert, hematologist and medical oncologist
You were drawn to CTCA for its “whole-person” treatment. What is that? A person with cancer is not just their cancer. They are human beings with feelings and needs. It is important for me to get to know the patient on a personal level and treat the "whole" person—not just their disease. Placing an emphasis on addressing everything they may be dealing with can impact the relationship I have with my patients and helps support their health and healing.
What is the most exciting advancement in your field currently? What about an advancement you see on the horizon? We have seen advancements in targeted therapy which hone in on cancer-specific mutations in cancer cells, as well as immunotherapy, which allows patient’s own immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. I believe we are going to hear more about how our microbiome or gut bacteria play a role in cancer. By developing medicines based on microbiome science, we can boost up a suppressed immune system in cancer patients. Clinical trials are currently investigating this approach.
What is the most rewarding part of your career? What about the biggest challenge? I love the relationships I have with my patients. I consider many of them friends. I enjoy sharing in their victories and supporting them through the tough times. Providing patients with support and quality of life is equally as important as treating their cancer. The biggest challenges we face are high copays or lack of insurance coverage. Because of this, patients may become responsible for a greater portion of their healthcare, which can limit their access to certain treatments.
What is your hope for the future of the health field in the Valley? I would love to see all patients in the Valley have access to health care regardless of their financial situation.
What influence do you hope to have on the Valley? I hope to be a role model for others and inspire people to be healthy and fit both emotionally and physically. There are so many things we can do to be proactive including eating healthy food, getting quality sleep, staying social, limiting our stress and staying active, all of which I do on a daily basis.
In what ways do you give back to the community? I joyfully donate my time and money to animal shelters and charities in the community. I also enjoy teaching and will say yes to any opportunity that allows me to educate our future physicians.
What are some of your free-time passions? I love spending time with my six animals. They just light me up. I enjoy staying active and work out most days of the week. I am also a foodie and enjoy trying all the amazing restaurants in the Valley.