Keep moving on and don’t worry too much about the future. Keep exercising, eat well and meditate.
Dr. Peeran Sandhu was raised in a small village in Pakistan. As a child he was the one who often helped those in need, caring for them when they were ill and supporting them through difficult times. When he and his parents moved to the United States at age 18, he was grateful for the opportunity and began to pursue his medical degree. It was a long road that took him through the University of California Davis, Medical University of Lublin, and University of Oklahoma Health Science Center.
At completion of hematology/oncology fellowship at the University of Oklahoma, he was offered a position in a beautiful Salina Kansas where he has happily served his patients and the community at large ever since. As a hematologist and oncologist, Dr. Peeran Sandhu takes time daily to continue to learn about ever changing field of hematology/oncology. His full day is spent caring for his patients and doing all that he can to treat their cancers and blood disorders. Dr. Sandhu is doing what he has always wanted to do: making other people’s lives better.
Dr. Peeran Sandhu is a married father of four with two sons attending the same school where he received his internal medicine and hematology/oncology training, the University of Oklahoma.
Where did the idea to become an oncologist come from?
When it became time to select a specialty, I wanted something that would allow me to help patients at a time when they are facing a terrifying and life threatening illness. I also wanted to choose a field which is intellectually challenging. I enjoy solving difficult problems because it keeps my mind stimulated. I also wanted to have time needed to build a trusting relationship with my patients. Becoming a hematologist-oncologist fulfill all the criteria. The central focus of my life is help other human beings improve their lives.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My day usually begins at five in the morning. A fresh cup of coffee is a must followed by 30-45 minutes of exercise. I come into the office to review charts of the patients I am seeing that day, and meet my staff. I start seeing patients around nine in the morning and continue until around 4 in the afternoon. At that point I return patients’ calls, consult with other doctors, and round on my patients in the hospital. There I often meet with patient’s families to discuss the condition and care of their loved ones. My rounds continue until about 7 in the evening.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I know that whatever decision I make, whatever order I write for a patient will affect their life. I work to make sure that decisions are carefully considered and well informed. This means an individualized approach to each patient I treat. It is important to take time to know the patient and their goals before a treatment plan is made. I enjoy knowing that my choices can and will hopefully improve their lives. I feel great when I see patients doing better. It is always the highlight of my day when I see that they are feeling better than when they initially came to me with their illness.
What’s one trend that excites you?
A really exciting new treatment option that is becoming more widely used is immunotherapy. It is exciting because it can teach the body’s immune system to go after the cancer. It’s becoming widely used in various malignancies. This approach has made it possible to treat more types of cancer, and it is less toxic than traditional chemotherapy. In some patients, it can be effective for years. One gentleman I have been treating is in his late 80’s. He has stage IV malignant melanoma and a large tumor the liver. He has been receiving immunotherapy treatment for the last three years and he has done great. The tumor has shrunk dramatically without adversely affecting the quality of life.
Immunotherapy and targeted therapy are the biggest improvements in the treatment of cancer in the last 10 years.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as a physician?
I run before starting my workday and I meditate twice a day, first at lunch time and then again at 5 in the evening. This helps me to clear and re energize my mind. It allows me to finish my day with full focus and alertness.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself to work hard, keep moving on and don’t worry too much about the future. Keep exercising, eat well and meditate. Spend more time with parents and loved ones. These are the essential ingredients to a meaningful and happy life.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?
I think physicians should not have to work on the laptop while they are in the room with a patient. It makes the doctor- patient interaction more impersonal. A physician’s full attention should be the patient. I believe in using a pad and pen and take notes which can be dictated later. This way patient knows that his or her physician was really interested in listening and addressing their concerns.
As a cancer physician, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Running and meditation are the first things that come to mind. People’s lives are stressful. Running is a natural way to increase endorphins. It helps increase focus, prevents heart attacks, diabetes, and keeps the bones and lungs healthy. The long-term benefits are unmatched.
Meditation helps to reduce stress and balance hormones. Stress hormones have been linked to increased risk of cancer, heart disease and deterioration the mind. Together meditation and running can keep people healthy and out of the hospital and doctors office.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your practice?
I don’t use grand strategies or clever methods. I care for every patient as I would care for a family member. It is important to me that they feel comfortable and well cared for. I imagine myself in their shoes and try to treat them as I would like to be treated.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I don’t think in terms of failures. I think in terms of lessons and gaining experience. Just as children when learning to walk we fall repeatedly but we don’t stop trying and soon we are on two feet ready to explore the world. Whenever I have a setback or the outcome isn’t what I expected, I try again and again and seek advice.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
These days more people have health insurance than in the past. More people are going to emergency rooms for various ailments. Emergency rooms are becoming overwhelmed.
It would be beneficial to open urgent care clinics in small communities with limited access to an emergency room or primary care physicians to address minor illnesses. It can help these communities and good source of making a living. It would also make it easier for the emergency room visitors and doctors to deal with true emergencies.
Generally, visiting an urgent care clinic is much faster and cheaper for the patients.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Not long ago, I went to a local food bank. I was thinking about bringing my children there for a visit. I wanted them to know that in their own community there are people who don’t have enough to eat and it is our responsibility to help as much as we can. While I was waiting for the food bank to open, I met a man and a woman who had come from Ohio. They had been sleeping in their car for the last few nights and were waiting for the food bank to get something to eat. It was hard to believe that there are people in so much need.
I spoke with them for several minutes. I asked them if it was okay for me to give them something. I had a hundred dollar bill in my pocket and I handed it to the woman. She was so grateful that she began to cry and gave me a hug. It felt great to be able to help them. That was the best hundred dollars I’ve spent.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
There is a program called UpToDate. It is a way to learn about nearly any medical condition. It is a great tool to help refresh one’s memory and to confirm that one is diagnosis and treating patients with the most up to date medicines and methods. When I am working up a specific diagnosis, I take a few minutes to read about it to ensure I am on the right track.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“The Emperor of all Maladies: A Biography of Cancer” by Siddhartha Mukherjee. This discusses the story of how the treatment of cancer has evolved over time. It talks about the fact that some of the treatments that have benefited hundreds of thousands of people were found by accident.
It is an interesting book to read.
What is your favorite quote?
“I might not be more skilled than any other scientists, but I have the persistence of a mule.” by Albert Einstein.
Persistence is what makes people successful. It isn’t always the intellect because you can be intelligent and quit before you have succeeded. One without the other often leads to nothing. Keep trying no matter what you are doing.
● It’s vital for a physician to healthy
● My Patients always come first
● I am passionate about what I do
● Continuous education keeps me well-educated about care options
● I really care about each individual patient and their outcome
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Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.