“The great thing about medicine is that it allows you to learn something new almost every day...”
Dr. James Rooney has always been fascinated by science, and curious about how things work – whether the human body or the complexity of the solar system. “In high school I was a member of the astronomy club, science club, chess club, that’s what my friends and I were into,” he explains. “I knew a career that involved science was right for me, and I chose medicine. The great thing about medicine is that it allows you to learn something new almost every day, and I really love that aspect of it.”
As a hematologist-oncologist, Dr. Rooney treats patients suffering from many different diseases including breast, lung, colon and prostate cancer as well as different types of leukemia. “What I do in my work is not just treatment, in many cases I can change the natural course of the disease. It’s what makes this profession so exciting.”
Dr. Rooney is a strong believer that a clear understanding of the disease process is important for his patients. “If people can understand the roadmap – or the approach to the disease, they can understand what you’re up to in terms of treatment. It’s a way of guiding people through the process.”
Dr. Rooney is committed to using the most sophisticated processes and techniques in his practice. “Perhaps the most interesting thing I do is gene chip technology, a powerful way to analyze thousands of genes at once, to help in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. The science is still in its infancy, but it will be essential in helping physicians and scientists understand the role that genetics plays in many major illnesses that we face. In fact, some breast cancer therapies are already based on gene profiles. In the future, we should be able to prevent many diseases before they happen using what we’ve learned from gene chip technology.”
For Dr. Rooney, the most satisfying part of his job is seeing his patients do well, “I can’t cure every disease I treat, but I can help a lot of people,” he explains. “That’s what I love about this job.”
During his free time Dr. Rooney enjoys being outdoors and loves to photograph waterfalls, foliage, flowers, and architecture. He also loves cooking and is well known for his lemon risotto. Dr. Rooney also still enjoys astronomy, just like he did in high school.
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