Farzana D. Pashankar, MD, is a pediatric hematologist-oncologist who takes care of children with blood disorders and cancer, and says she is amazed by the advances in her field.
“It’s ever-changing, and we are always improving the outcome and the prognosis—even in my career, there’s been such remarkable improvements,” says Dr. Pashankar, who has a particular interest in sickle cell diseases, solid tumors, and rare types of pediatric cancers. “Nowadays, we can cure 80 to 85 percent of all children diagnosed with cancer. And for certain types, like leukemia, we can cure more than 95 percent. It’s been a rewarding journey of watching these new inventions and discoveries.”
When it comes to reassuring parents, Dr. Pashankar tells them, “This is the most difficult time you will face as a parent. Your child is precious, and I can assure you that I will do everything to provide your child with the best possible care.”
Building relationships with families is particularly meaningful, she says. “The bonds we form can be long-lasting, and that drives all of us to want to continue what we do and do better,” Dr. Pashankar says, adding that her work can take an emotional toll. “There are many nights you spend tossing and turning and wondering how you can best take care of a particular child going through a difficult time, but it’s also extremely rewarding to have an amazing network of people here at Yale and across the nation to collaborate with, and it’s all worth it. It’s a privilege when people entrust us with their children.”
Dr. Pashankar is an associate professor of pediatric hematology/oncology at Yale School of Medicine.