Rafael Santana Davila, M.D., has treated a large variety of cancers in his career as an oncologist, including breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, esophageal cancer, gastrointestinal cancer and other malignancies of the small intestines and colon. In 2011, he added mesothelioma to the list and was named as the mesothelioma specialist for Froedtert Hospital, where he originally served on the Breast Cancer Program Team.
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Santana-Davila is board certified in three specialties: hematology, internal medicine and medical oncology. He will begin drawing on his experiences in these fields to treat mesothelioma patients at both Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin while maintaining his practice at the Clement J. Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Joining the Froedtert team after extensive hematology and oncology training at the Mayo Clinic, Santana-Davila has worked since 2010 with Nicholas Choong, M.D., Froedtert Hospital’s former mesothelioma specialist. Since being named Choong’s successor, Santana-Davila has paid special attention to Choong’s management of mesothelioma cases to learn as much as possible about the treatment of this complex cancer.
Santana-Davila plans to tap his colleagues’ expertise when he treats the hospital’s mesothelioma patients. Approaching his cancer cases with a multidisciplinary intent, he contributes his own expertise in hematology and oncology but also involves peers from other departments to construct a comprehensive treatment plan for his patients. Froedtert’s combination approach to treating mesothelioma with chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery coincides with Santana-Davila’s own care philosophy.
Much of his research has focused on the genetic mechanisms that cause cancer cells to spread, grow or die. He has also investigated prognostic factors that indicate response to cancer treatment. Santana-Davila understands that all patients respond differently to cancer and strives to individualize treatment plans for each mesothelioma patient that he sees.
Through his employers, he has access to some of the nation’s leading equipment and technology, including Gamma Knife radiation delivery machines and an on-site clinical pathology laboratory. The Medical College of Wisconsin is the only academic medical center in the eastern part of the state, allowing patients to directly benefit from the newest laboratory developments made by researchers.
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