Posted: May 18, 2017
Dr  Franchetto And Leonard
Dr. Franchetto (right) with her good friend Dr. Leonard (left)

It’s not unusual for a child to want to follow in their parents’ footsteps.

But for Dr. Marin Franchetto, seeing her mother who worked as a physician initially made her try to steer clear of following in her mom’s footsteps.

However after Dr. Franchetto realized how passionate her mother was for her work, and how many people she helped get back to a healthy state, she realized this was ultimately the career for her.

Now Dr. Franchetto works as a general practitioner in oncology in GRH’s inpatient oncology unit after starting at GRH in September 2016.

Did you always know you wanted to be a doctor?

Actually I initially tried very hard NOT to be a doctor. My mother was a physician, and I saw how hard she worked every day and how many calls she took which was a bit of a dissuasion.

However, seeing her passion for her career really did inspire me to pursue medicine as a career of my own, and I’ve never looked back since.

What drew you to oncology?

It was the complexity and acuity of the inpatient care combined with the privilege of caring for patients facing some of the most difficult challenges of their life.  

And having a best friend at work is nice! Dr. Leonard (Sarah) and I go way back, we both attended the School of Medicine at Queen’s University in Kingston. After we graduated we both started our residency in family medicine at the McMaster University Kitchener-Waterloo campus which is where we really became close.

She was already working at an inpatient general practitioner of oncology (GPO) at GRH when I was job-hunting, then I saw they were hiring another GPO and I jumped at the chance to work together with another young talented physician. I couldn’t ask for a better colleague; we have become close friends both at and away from work. We’re each other’s sounding board, confidant and support system in a difficult and emotional work environment.

How do you help to make your patients feel comfortable, especially when they are facing a serious prognosis?

I always like to be humble and be honest. Most patients appreciate a very frank and open discussion.

You have to let them know that regardless of diagnosis or serious prognosis as their doctor you will be there to help them navigate and support them through it in a way that best fits their goals of care.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I enjoy just about everything about my work. The team on the inpatient oncology unit is second to none. It’s an incredibly caring and supportive environment where we all look out for one another. I can honestly say I enjoy coming to work every day.

Our patients are also some of the most lovely and wonderful people. You really get to know them and their families through their cancer trajectory as they are often readmitted or have lengthy stays on our floor, and that really does feel like a privilege to be an integral part of their cancer journey.

What do you find most challenging about your work?

Clinically the medicine of oncology is very challenging, but more than that the most challenging is helping both patients and their families through a difficult prognosis or unexpected change in their clinical course.

What kinds of things can people do in terms of cancer prevention?

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, regular sunscreen use, not smoking and staying up-to-date with primary prevention measures with their family physician. I also believe all males and females of appropriate age should discuss the HPV vaccine with their family doctor and strongly consider getting vaccinated.

The HPV vaccine is aimed at preventing infection with the major strains of HPV that are associated with cervical cancer.

Almost all cases of cervical cancer and many anal cancers are HPV-infection related and we have an effective vaccine that can drastically reduce their incidence. It’s essentially a cancer vaccine which is absolutely amazing and everyone should take that opportunity to protect themselves.

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