Betty Hsiao, MD, is a rheumatologist at Yale Medicine with a unique interest in treating cancer patients who develop rheumatologic side effects from immunotherapy—a type of cancer treatment that stimulates the body’s own immune system to identify and destroy cancer cells.
Dr. Hsiao completed her medical degree at Ross University School of Medicine. In 2015, she became a resident at Flushing Hospital Medical Center in New York. Afterwards, she completed her fellowship at Yale and stayed on as faculty.
Rheumatologic conditions are often tricky to diagnose. As a physician, Dr. Hsiao prioritizes taking an in-depth medical history to get as much information as possible. “We often go back even before the cancer diagnosis and see if there’s anything in the history that might point to an inflammatory arthritis or rheumatologic diagnosis,” she says. “Then, we fast forward to the present day and see what the patient has been through, how they came to their cancer diagnosis, and what treatment they’ve received and will receive.”
While medical history is the most important factor in making a diagnosis, Dr. Hsiao also places importance on the physical exam. “We look at the whole body, but we also look at every joint, looking for any inflammation that might be present,” she says.
During this process, Dr. Hsiao works closely with the patient’s cancer care team so that their treatments complement each other and work well together.
“I enjoy the long-term relationships that I’m able to build with patients and being able to work with a patient through the different phases of their disease,” says Dr. Hsiao. She also enjoys the challenge of finding the right treatment for her patients.
In the end, though, Dr. Hsiao’s patients are the most rewarding part of her job. “I really care about them and I look forward to seeing them every morning and hearing their story,” she says.
In addition to seeing patients, Dr. Hsiao conducts clinical research on shared decision-making between patients and doctors. She is also a clinical instructor at Yale School of Medicine.