It was a question that the young medical student didn’t have an answer to in 1977 that helped launch his prolific career in cancer care.
“A professor in medical school quizzed me about the Philadelphia chromosome,” recalls Sukumar Ethirajan, MD, medical oncologist/hematologist. “I researched it further, reviewed my notes and became fascinated with the role of genetics in cancer.” The Philadelphia chromosome is a specific chromosomal abnormality associated with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), and Dr. Ethirajan, now with Dr.E.T.’s Concierge Care , began his challenging career in the world of oncology. He studied tumor biology, biochemistry, radiology and pathology at renowned institutions including Roswell Park Memorial Institute in Buffalo, NY, Boston University Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital a Harvard affiliate in Boston.
Years later in Kansas City, following prestigious fellowships at the University of California Los Angeles and the University of Minnesota, the young oncologist came face-to-face with the Philadelphia chromosome on a very personal level. “My good friend whom I played recreational basketball with was diagnosed with CML,” says Dr. Ethirajan. “At that time the only treatment available was a bone marrow transplant, and though he did receive one, his remission was short-lived.”
Soon after his friend’s passing, an oral treatment was introduced to help treat CML. For Dr. Ethirajan, this full-circle experience with the once-elusive Philadelphia chromosome reinforced his choice of practicing oncology and genetics. “When I was in medical school in the late 1970s, specializing in cancer wasn’t a popular career choice,” he says.
Nearly 40 years later, Dr. Ethirajan is widely known for his work in genetics, cancer prevention, risk assessment, personalized care and his altruistic nature. The passionate and compassionate oncologist, Dr. Ethirajan’s new Concierge Care practice will focus on expanding services offered to patients, ensuring more personalized care and continuing to help the underserved in the community.
- Community Oncologist – over 25 years in Kansas City area – Dr. E.T.’s Concierge Care
- Former Vice-Chair of Midwest IRB(Institutional Review Board) – 8 years at HCA-MidwestHealth IRB
- Chief of Development , Oncology Serviceline 6/2011 – 12/2015 (HCA Midwest-Physicians)
- President – Medical Staff, Menorah Medical Center (2014)
- President – Kansas Society of Clinical Oncology-KaSCO (2010 – 2014)
- ASCO-Clinical Practice Committee-member(2013-2016)
- WPS – J-5 & ASCO-ASH Carrier Advisory Committee (Medicare) – current
- NCCN-State Oncology Society Forum – current
- Center for Practical Bio-ethics – Board member
- Past Leadership experience in Business and Development (KCIM Oncology, Metro Care, Healthcare Foundation of greater Kansas City-past board member,Kansas City Cancer Center ,USON)~20yrs
- Quality-NICCQ(National Initiative on Cancer Care Quality-KC area-PI),CQA-Cancer Quality Alliance “Blue Print” group
- ACCC – “Institute for the Future of Oncology” 2013 & 2016-panelist
- Founding member of Metro Care serving the uninsured,founding member of Kansas City Cancer Center now with KU Cancer Center, past board member -REACH and Health Forward foundations, and former President – MetroMedKC (2004) now known as Kansas City Medical Society