Dr Flatt - Why I chose a career in Paediatric Oncology

Dr Tristan Flatt is Director at the Spanish Speaking Oncology Clinic at Children’s Mercy Hospital and World Child Cancer’s twinning lead for Mexico. We caught up with Dr Flatt to find out what inspired him to enter into a career to support children with cancer;

"I do not believe that I chose paediatric oncology, it chose me. There were three things that I said that I would never do: paediatrics, oncology or OB-GYN - clearly, something happened.  In my last clinical rotation as a third-year medical student, I completed my paediatric rotation in South Texas where there is a large Hispanic population. I had two encounters with paediatric cancer patients that were career changing and one that was life changing. During that rotation, I understood the need for bilingual physicians and I saw that as a bilingual oncologist I could impact the outcome of a child and assist the family at many levels.

"I love complex medicine and paediatric oncology provides an opportunity for research to improve outcomes but what really drew me most to the field was the interpersonal relationships with patients and their families. I feel blessed to be part of a journey where often many inexplicable spiritual moments happen both in the cure of a patient and in instances when they pass. Every day is a privilege to take care of these kids and make them laugh, just like they make us laugh."

World Child Cancer supports children with cancer in developing countries around the world. Volunteers like Dr Flatt enable us to provide vital training and advice to local healthcare professionals on spotting the early warning signs of childhood cancer and to improve treatment standards.