Tristen Park, MD, is a surgical oncologist specializing in breast cancer. Most of her patients are diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer localized to the breast and/or lymph nodes. She also treats precancerous lesions as well as benign breast conditions.
Dr. Park chose her specialty in breast cancer because the field was so promising. “Breast cancer care has revolutionized to the point where most of my patients won't die from breast cancer,” she says. “My goal is for them to understand this in a really deep way, so that it's not as scary.”
In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Park is an immuno-oncology researcher investigating better treatment for breast cancer with immunotherapy, which uses substances that stimulate the immune response to treat cancer. As a fellow at the National Cancer Institute, she completed a surgical oncology and clinical immunotherapy fellowship with Steven A. Rosenberg, MD, PhD, a surgical oncologist and renowned pioneer in immunotherapy. More recently, she has been excited to see immunotherapy becoming available for treatment of metastatic triple negative breast cancers. “There has also been exciting evidence of success in the preoperative setting,” she says. In addition, Dr. Park serves as director of the breast oncology cancer research bank at Smilow Cancer Hospital, where all tissue and blood is stored for future research.
Dr. Park grew up in a family where a significant number of relatives were musicians or artists on her mother’s side, and physicians and scientists on her father’s side. “For me it was a natural blend of both. I play a lot of classical music,” says Dr. Park, a classically trained pianist who is a patron of the Yale School of Music. “But, I also feel like medicine requires every fiber of your being, especially surgery and surgical oncology. It requires so much of you physically, mentally, and emotionally. I just feel like I’m the type of person that's drawn to that.”
Smilow Cancer Hospital