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Radiation Oncologist joins OMC Cancer Treatment Center team

OMC welcomes Board Certified Radiation Oncologist Benjamin Yan, MD, PhD, to the team at the OMC Cancer Treatment Center. He comes to OMC from Mason City, Iowa, where he served as a Radiation Oncologist for Mercy Medical Center. Dr. Yan joins Board Certified Oncologists/Hematologists Charles Morgan, MD, and Liana Makarian, MD, in providing complete cancer care for the community.

In addition to his medical degree, Dr. Yan completed a PhD in Pathology and Cancer Biology at Duke University Medical Center. His many accomplishments include identifying a tumor suppressor gene, DFF, and identifying the molecular mechanism underlying cancers developed from chronic inflammatory diseases. His discoveries have been presented in annual conferences for the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR).

During his residency at the University of Mississippi and fellowship in radiation oncology at Duke University Medical Center, Dr. Yan published more than 20 publications in peer-reviewed medical journals and received a number of prestigious awards and honors including the AACR scholar-in-training award and ASCO Merit Award. He was selected as a top oncologist by the International Association of Oncologists in 2014.

Dr. Yan said he is looking forward to being a part of OMC's Cancer Treatment team.

"There is a growing need for cancer care, including Radiotherapy, here in our community," he said. "Ozarks Medical Center's administration is very motivated and supportive in growing the radiation oncology program. I was extensively trained with the latest advanced modalities of radiation therapy. I see a great potential of growth of the program; so, it is a mutually good fit."

New Radiation Treatment Techniques

Dr. Yan is experienced with advanced radiation therapy technologies that he will bring to OMC, offering state-of-the-art cancer treatment to patients. These treatments include 3D conventional radiotherapy and IMRT (intensity modulated radiation therapy). With these techniques, the beams of radiation used in treatment are shaped to match the tumor in order to maximally spare the normal tissue that surrounds the tumor. These treatments are usually delivered daily over several weeks.

"The modern stereotactic radiotherapy offer precise targeting of the tumor significantly increasing the efficiency of the tumor killing by radiation while minimizing the side effects of radiotherapy," he said.

He will use stereotactic radiosurgery techniques including those that target tumors in the body (SBRT) and those that target tumors in the brain (SRS). This treatment is a form of radiation therapy that focuses high-dose radiation precisely on the tumor, sparing the surrounding tissue. Despite its name, radiosurgery is a non-invasive treatment, not a surgical procedure. It can be an alternative in treating patients who are unable to undergo surgery. Stereotactic radiosurgery deliver radiation precisely to the tumor in one to five sessions over one to 10 days.

In addition, Dr. Yan will offer seed implant therapy for the treatment of prostate cancer. This type of treatment involves implanting small radioactive seeds into the prostate to treat and kill the cancer cells.

Dr. Yan said advances in treatment can have a big impact not only on the treatment of the cancer but on the patient's quality of life.

"With recent advances, some cancers are curable, especially when found in the early stage; and for these patients, my goal is to cure their cancers," he said. "But for some patients, even incurable cancers are no longer immediately life threatening. Instead, they become chronic diseases because there are more and better treatment options with both chemo and radiation therapy. These patients can live with cancer for years. For this patient population, my goal is to maximally prolong their lives and at the same time improve the quality of their lives. My experience with the state of the art radiation technologies will help me achieve this goal."

Dr. Yan is Board Certified by the American Board of Radiology. He is a member of the American Society of Therapeutic Radiation Oncology, the Radiosurgery Society, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Medical Association and the Radiation Research Society. He is an Associate member of the American Association of Cancer Research.

In his free time he enjoys sports and the outdoors.

"I enjoy playing basketball, fishing, boating. I'm really looking forward to living in the Ozarks and enjoying hunting and horseback riding," he said.

The OMC Cancer Treatment Center offers patients the same leading edge treatment they can receive in progressive cancer treatment centers across the country. The Cancer Treatment Center is located in the Shaw Medical Building at 1111 Kentucky Avenue in West Plains. For more information, call 417-257-5900.

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