Niki Patel, MD, a fellowship-trained hematologist-oncologist board certified in internal medicine and medical oncology, has joined the Division of Medical Oncology at Cedars-Sinai Cancer. She is treating patients in Pasadena at Huntington Cancer Center at Huntington Health, an affiliate of Cedars-Sinai. Patel provides clinical care for patients with breast cancer, with a particular focus on adolescents and young adults.
“Dr. Patel is a terrific addition to the Huntington Cancer Center team,” said Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, director of Cedars-Sinai Cancer and the PHASE ONE Distinguished Chair. “She excels at treating patients and working in clinical trial development and survivorship care—all key in offering the highest-quality service throughout the communities we serve. Working closely with young people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer is of special interest to Dr. Patel, and we are gratified to benefit from her expertise.”
Patel earned her medical degree from the George Washington University School of Medicine and completed an internal medicine residency at Cedars-Sinai, where she later served as chief medical resident. She completed a hematology-oncology fellowship at City of Hope and later directed the City of Hope Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Program.
“We greatly value all that Dr. Patel brings to breast cancer patients at Huntington,” said Howard Kaufman, MD, regional medical director of Huntington Cancer Center. “She is known for her compassion, kindness and utmost competence, and we’re thrilled that patients throughout the San Gabriel Valley have the opportunity to be treated and cared for by her.”
Patel said that she values the caring, family feel that Cedars-Sinai and Huntington Cancer Center are known for, especially the connection to patients.
“The human element of medicine is what has always most appealed to me, and that is an important part of the Cedars-Sinai culture that I’ve also found at Huntington Cancer Center,” Patel said. “Through oncology, I enjoy developing meaningful relationships with patients and offering them the most innovative treatment options—both of which can change the face of their cancer journey.”
Patel’s career was inspired by her father, a pediatrician in a small, central California town. Some of her most cherished memories are of accompanying him to the hospital nursery to check on patients, and even going with him on house calls.
“I loved that he got to help make people feel better,” Patel said. “I grew up wondering why everyone wouldn’t want to do this as a career.”
Throughout her residency at Cedars-Sinai, Patel was impressed with the team’s approach to compassionate patient care. During her third year, while working with breast cancer patients, she found her calling.
Patel has a special interest in exploring how food, exercise and intermittent fasting can improve care for all cancer patients and survivors. In her work with adolescents and young adults with breast cancer at Huntington Cancer Center, she strives to make sure patients feel more empowered.
“The teen years, 20s and 30s are a pivotal time, and when you are told you have breast cancer and you have to take a big pause in your life for treatment, or you are going through surgery that could be disfiguring, it can feel devastating,” she said. “This demographic especially needs someone they can feel comfortable talking to. If all we do is focus on the medicine, we’re losing half the game. It’s important to me to spend as much time talking about what else is going on in patients’ lives as it is talking about their cancer.”