A member of the PearlPoint Scientific Advisory Committee since January 2013, Dr. Andrew Kennedy is an internationally renowned radiation oncologist specializing in gastrointestinal cancers, as well as cancers of the breast and lung. Dr. Kennedy is a graduate of the Loma Linda School of Medicine in California and completed his residency at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has given hundreds of presentations on radiation therapy for the treatment of colorectal and liver cancers worldwide, and is currently the Director of Radiation Oncology Research at Sarah Cannon Research Institute and Physician in Chief, Radiation Oncology, at Sarah Cannon. Nationally, Dr. Kennedy serves as a member of the Board of Chancellors for the American College of Radiation Oncology. He has been selected yearly since 2009 as one of America’s Best Doctors (top 5% of U.S.) and was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society as a faculty member in 1999. Outside of radiation oncology, Dr. Kennedy enjoys photography and spending time with his wife Elaine, three children, dog, and two bunnies.
We’re proud to have Dr. Kennedy as a part of our team, ensuring that our cancer resources are the most up-to-date and reliable information available. We hope you enjoy getting to know Dr. Kennedy in our second PearlPoint spotlight!
PearlPoint: Why did you become an oncologist? What do you find most gratifying about your work?
Dr. Kennedy: I was drawn to cancer patients in part due to my family experience, but mostly I found it very rewarding to have a long-term relationship with a patient for which their condition was serious.Cancer therapy is demanding in every way on patients and physicians/staff intellectually, emotionally, physically it takes endurance and fortitude.I’m most fulfilled when we have provided excellent, innovative, compassionate care that benefited the patient in a very meaningful way.
PearlPoint: What’s the most common struggle you find your patients face?
Dr. Kennedy: Whether they admit it or not, everyone fears the unknown and imagines that they could experience loss of independence, happiness, physical abilities, professional life, and also be treated differently’.Although legitimate physical symptoms occur and need to be addressed, often I find they are secondary to much more significant emotional and psychological stressors. I try to be mindful of not just the obvious cancer-related physical concerns, but what else this diagnosis is causing under the surface’ to disrupt their life, steal away happiness, and ultimately inhibit our joint efforts (patient and healthcare team) to treat the disease.
PearlPoint: Why do you serve on PearlPoint’s Scientific Advisory Committee? What distinguishes PearlPoint from other cancer organizations?
Dr. Kennedy: I joined PearlPoint’s Scientific Advisory Committee for several reasons, but mainly to assist in providing accurate information to patients as they grapple with the daunting volume of new words, phrases, procedures, and statistics.There is a large void presently for physician-approved content written for the average patient.PearlPoint is unique in its mission and structure to provide this much needed content which is free to all.
PearlPoint: What’s something about yourself that most people don’t know?
Dr. Kennedy: I was fortunate to work my way through college and part of medical school earning money as a photographer.I apologize now to all those who wonderful people that had to settle for my skills’ as a photographer!
PearlPoint: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your life?
Dr. Kennedy: Although it might not appear to be so at the time, it’s always the easiest to do the right thing.