Il Song Hahn, MD, is a pathologist who specializes in surgical pathology, which includes all types of solid tumor cancers. In one day, Dr. Hahn might examine a tissue biopsy from a patient with head-and-neck cancer, another with lung cancer, and still another with liver cancer. “I diagnose tumors of all types,” Dr. Hahn says.
When choosing his career, Dr. Hahn wanted to stay close to scientific research and the science that drives medical decisions. Pathology allows him to focus on understanding the origins of diseases and cancers. However, Dr. Hahn does not shy away from speaking with inquisitive patients who contact him to learn more about their diagnoses. “Patients might be familiar with terminology through Internet searches, but sometimes bits of information get lost in translation,” says Dr. Hahn.
An important aspect of patient care for him is to take time to clearly communicate the nuances behind a diagnosis in order to alleviate anxieties, or simply bring more clarity to a situation. “Patients might assume that when they see a physician and receive a diagnosis, then everything will be black-and-white after that, but it’s not always the case,” Dr. Hahn says.
At Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Hahn is an assistant professor of clinical pathology.