Why did you decide to become a surgeon?
My mother was a scrub nurse, so I kind of grew up going to the operating room and spent a lot of time around the hospital. Whenever she was on call, I was on call.
I really liked surgery because you can really help people and help fix a problem. And I like the relationships that surgeons have with patients. People are very vulnerable when they come in, and you get to develop a relationship with them and truly have a pretty tight patient-doctor relationship.
How do you develop those relationships with your patients?
I really like to listen to them, listen to what their goals are. Women have very different opinions about their breasts. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, some women really want to keep their breasts, some women want to have their breasts removed and some women want to come in, get their therapy and get on with their lives.
It’s very different for each patient, and I think just sitting back and listening to their stories is important. Some patients have a very strong family history of cancer and because of that, their diagnosis frightens them very much. Just hearing that, it helps me individualize their care plan.
What does a typical day away from the office look like?
My husband and I usually go eat someplace new and fun for lunch, and then I usually work out in my garden. We bought a house with about an acre on it, which is more land than I’ve ever had. We have planter boxes all over, and the tomatoes have taken over the world.
And anything on Netflix, we’ll watch.
What’s your favorite food?
Mexican food. Or anything that involves cheese. There are few things that cheese won’t cure.
Check out our video interview with Dr. Marcinkowski, where she talks about the personalized, individualized care that Markey offers patients with breast cancer.
- Learn more about the Comprehensive Breast Care Center at Markey, where our specialists work together in a single location to provide timely and accurate care from evaluation and diagnosis to treatment planning.
- Meet Dr. Aju Mathew, history buff and breast cancer specialist at Markey.