Dr. Marie Amanze Sees The Positives Of Breast Cancer AwarenessOct 17th, 2013 | By Admin | Category: Community News
By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Dr. Marie Amanze of Hematology Oncology Solutions, the only female oncologist in private practice in Tallahassee, has always been interested in the health care profession in some form, “pretty much all my life,” she says. In her native country of Haiti, health care was something that was not available to everyone, but when she came to the United States in 1986, she was amazed at the access almost everyone had to health care and health care professionals. In 1994, she started medical school at the University of South Florida College of Medicine, with her heart set on becoming an OB/GYN. In the area of medicine, what could be more joyful than delivering babies? Then, her focus changed to internal medicine, because that was the foundation that all other medicine was built on. While she was doing her residency, she met Dr. Nathan Levitan, who would get her started in the direction of oncology. He was the image of what she believed a doctor ought to be, a person of compassion, someone who was respectful to everyone from the janitor to his colleagues. Here, she believed, was a health care professional she could model herself after. He invited her to work in his clinic, and after two or three times of doing so, she saw that oncology was a field where compassion would go a long way, and she saw herself as a compassionate person. Although there would be sad moments, and she would lose some patients, she realized that even for terminal patients, she could make a difference in their quality of life. She has now been in oncology since 2001, four years on a fellowship and eight years working in Tallahassee. At first, she was part of a group practice with five other individuals, but the problem was, with six oncologists in the same room, there would be six different opinions. After the group dissolved, she eventually formed her own practice. Going solo wasn’t what she had envisioned for herself. She missed not having a whole group of colleagues to talk to and bounce ideas off of, but after a year and half as a private practitioner, she has found that the support and mentoring is still there. She can email colleagues and refer patients to them and they can refer patients to her. She has also discovered that she is not only good at oncology, she is good at the business side of private practice as well. Then there is the autonomy. Hospitals are buying up other practices and this autonomy is being lost left and right. She has a wonderful support staff that she was able to choose herself. “I can’t say enough about them…we work well together.” At Hematology Oncology Solutions, she sees patients in all stages of illnesses, from pre-diagnosis to treatment to support services and patient education to post-chemotherapy. She can start with patients from the very beginning or take them in the middle as referrals from another doctor. She treats a wide variety of cancers: colon cancer, lung cancer, head and neck cancer, breast cancer, lymphomas and other blood disorders such as sickle cell anemia and other types of anemia…basically, “a little bit of everything.” When it comes to breast cancer, a woman’s first line of defense is, “Know your body.” That means breast self-exams. Mammograms are very important too, and she doesn’t downplay the importance of regular mammograms, “But you know when something is abnormal for you…when something isn’t right. Listen to your gut instincts.” When a woman finds a lump or something else that shouldn’t be there, or finds something that just isn’t right, “The only mistake is in not getting help,” she says. The field of oncology has come a long, long way in the last few years, and there are treatment options available now that weren’t there only a few short years ago. There is this sense, when it comes to breast cancer, that “no matter what stage it is, you can make a difference.” Because of this, things like breast cancer awareness and Breast Cancer Awareness Month are positive things, she believes. “It lets women know that they are not alone, that there are people out there who can help them. It lets them know that breast cancer is not their fault. We live in a good era when cancer is an open conversation,” she says, unlike the era of 30, 40 or 50 years ago, when women lived in fear of ‘the c-word’ and were afraid to discuss the subject openly. Dr. Marie Amanze and her staff operate Hematology Oncology Solutions at 2617 Mitchum Drive, Suite 101, in Tallahassee. Their office can be reached at (850) 727-8540.