GREENSBURG — The passage of January into February means the American Cancer Society is turning its calendar to National Cancer Prevention Month.
For Decatur County Memorial Hospital (DCMH) hematologist/oncologist Dr. Jaime Ayon, M.D., EVERY month – indeed, every week and day – is a time to educate about and encourage cancer prevention. In fact, you might say cancer is Dr. Ayon’s life; it’s certainly an important part of his livelihood.
Ayon took time from a busy schedule last week to speak with the Daily News about how cancer prevention relates to his own patients, who generally suffer from cancers of the colon, breast, lung and/or bladder. He also treats other types of cancer, including leukemia, bone cancer and others.
He began the interview with a simple definition of what it means to be a hematologist. Hematology, he said, is the study and treatment of both “benign and malignant processes in the blood,” and of “blood disorders.”
Oncology, of course, is the study and treatment of cancer.
The Ecuador native comes from a middle-class background, and his interest in medicine started at a young age, with both parents being radiologists. While attending high school, he regularly assisted them in their practice, which instilled in him a deep, lasting interest in medicine.
He attended medical school in Ecuador, practicing there before being accepted to train in the United States at Nassau University Medical Center in Long Island, N.Y.
There, he started in internal medicine and, as part of his rotation, eventually landed in oncology, where he soon realized he’d found his calling.
He credits his mentor, Dr. Linda Carmosino, M.D., Nassau’s director of oncology and vice chair of internal medicine, with helping foster his interest in oncology and with helping guide his training into a successful, compassionate, patient-focused oncologist. “She was a big patient advocate,” Ayon said of his mentor. “She was extremely patient-care focused and compassionate.”