This month on South Texas Heroes, we're saying to thank you to the heroes who bring awareness to breast cancer and provide hope and support to those fighting the disease. Dr. Mohsen G. Mahani works with the cancer center at Laredo Medical Center. And he began to truly understand the impact of cancer as a young man when it hit close to home.
Growing up there is no one Dr. Mohsen Mahani looked up to quite like his dad. And when he found out his father had cancer it shaped his future forever. "My father was diagnosed with prostate cancer and so that was a life-changing experience not only for him but for the whole family," he said.
Mahani was about to start medical school at the time and he looked at all types of fields. But he knew in his heart he would become an oncologist, a doctor who specializes in cancer treatment.
"Going through different appointments, going through different tests, getting the blood work, getting the treatment made me realize that oncology was more, more than just medical treatment," Dr. Mahani told us.
Now he treats patients at the cancer center at Laredo Medical Center including many people with breast cancer. He's thankful he can be a part of the solution for them but it's still difficult to see patients battling the disease.
"I try to concentrate on the positive and do my best and give them the best treatment that's available," he told us.
But he can relate to his patients and their families because he knows what they've been through based on his experience with his father.
"Being there with him as he went through the tests, had the side effects, and went through treatments and had some side effects and supporting him, those are things that always stay with you," he told us.
But he says doctors have learned there are different types of cancer that require different treatments. And recent advances have improved treatment, targeting cancer with greater precision.
"We can now do molecular tests and we can now isolate a specific gene or a specific molecule and we can target that with chemotherapy," he said.
Maria Ruiz has lung cancer. She was diagnosed in January of this year and she's a patient of Dr. Mahani's. But she says Dr. Mahani has been there every step of the way.
"And he's the kind of doctor where you can call him, I usually call him many times, and it can be any time of the day or night," she said.
And Dr. Mahani says he'll continue in this career helping people in Laredo. He says he's thankful he can do his part to fight the disease. "I don't think it's something that I do by myself, it's something that's multi-disciplined, involves multiple people, and they're all heroes. We all have to be onboard, we all have to do a great job to care for that patient," he said.