Najam ud Din recently joined the Slocum-Dickson Medical Group in New Hartford with a specialty in hematology-oncology. Din is board- certified in medical oncology and internal medicine, and board-eligible in hematology. Din has privileges at Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare and St. Elizabeth Medical Center, affiliates of the Mohawk Valley Health System.
By Barbara Pierce
A.: I have always wanted to help people around me. Medicine allows one to help people using scientific knowledge while never letting go of the human and emotional perspective on life.
Q.: How would you describe the way you work with your patients?
A.: My goal is to treat my patients with compassion and to be an advocate for them as they navigate the increasingly complex health care environment to get the best care possible.
My philosophy is cautious optimism. I treat my patients with compassion as well as evidence-based medicine. My hope is they are able to deal with their condition knowing they have a strong partner on their side.
Q.: We are hearing more about evidence-based medicine. What does that mean?
A.: The science of health care changes very rapidly. There is a constant need to evaluate which of the many treatments available would work best for a patient — that is the crux of evidence-based medicine. This requires constant research into treatment of conditions that we see very frequently.
Q.: You specialize in cancer, including lung cancer, breast cancer, brain tumors, and gastrointestinal tumors, as well as blood disorders such as lymphoma and leukemia. Why did you choose this specialty area?
A.: My interest in hematology and oncology developed even before I entered medical school. I often heard people talk about cancer as the most-scary experience in their lives.
As I looked into it further, there seemed to be a lot of opportunity to improve in the care of patients who have cancer, as well as care for their families.
I like challenges, and hematology and oncology allow me to use my abilities in a manner that helps people and is very satisfying for me.
The field of hematology and oncology is rapidly changing. We are on the verge of finding treatments that make a meaningful improvement in people’s lives. Choosing this specialty has been the result of a gradual and continued self-realization throughout medical school and training that this is what I can do best.
Q.: Your role in helping patients and families at the end of life is especially challenging. Would you like to share anything about your role in this important part of medical care?
A.: It never is easy to give news regarding a serious diagnosis that has life-threatening and life-altering implications. My goal is to treat patients and their families with compassion. I want to be a strong partner on their side helping them through a serious illness.
In considering how to ease the pain and suffering at the end of life, my goal is to come up with treatments that are acceptable to the patient and their families.
Q.: What other preparations helped you in this career?
A.: After earning my medical degree at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan, I completed an internship and residency in internal medicine and an internship at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. Also, I completed a fellowship in hematology and oncology at SUNY Upstate Medical University.
In this fellowship, I learned to diagnose and treat various oncologic conditions and gained expertise in chemotherapy, chemo-immunotherapy and other non-surgical treatments for cancer. I became skilled in ordering and interpreting diagnostic studies including blood work, imaging, bone marrow aspiration and biopsy.
I was lucky to have a great mentor during medical school, residency and fellowship that equipped me with the tools to take care of both patients and their families well.
Q.: What else should we know about you?
A.: I have co-authored several publications on cancer that have appeared in national medical journals, including prevention of cervical cancer and management of lung cancer in the elderly. Some of the many presentations I have made include management of ovarian cancer; fever of an unknown origin, and gastrointestinal tumors.
Birth year: 1987
Current residence: Marcy
Education: Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan; medical degree, Aga Khan University
Affiliations: American Society of Hematology; American Society of Clinical Oncology
Personal: Din’s wife is training to be a doctor.
Hobbies: Community service; learning about new technological advancements