From cancer patient to cancer doctor

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by JEAN ENERSEN / KING 5 News

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KING5.com

Posted on April 7, 2010 at 5:39 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 4 at 10:44 AM

Sometimes you wonder if your doctor understands what you're going through.  One oncologist says he does after beating cancer as a teenager changed his life.

"From the moment I had cancer, I felt it was fate. I should help others like me. I began to contemplate."

Doctor Amir Steinberg wrote this poem called Hope. It was hope that helped him. He was just 17 when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Almost two decades later, he remembers what it  took to kill his cancer.

"When it was over, I felt life so much more and appreciated every moment and couldn't wait for what's in store," he said.

He is now an oncologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and has dedicated his life to helping others fight cancer.

"When I care for patients, I listen to their fear and their courage and their hope. I'm here to lend an ear," he said.

Javier Mandujano has been fighting lymphoma for five years. He says Dr. Steinberg knows the small details that others may not.

"You will definitely communicate better with someone who went through this," said Mandujano.

One thing he tells all his patients:

"Live life as if the cancer is not around. Live as normally as you can, as if it was never found," said Mandujano.

That's exactly what Louie Rosas did as he battled leukemia.

"Even when I was having bone marrow biopsies, as he's putting the needle in, he saying, 'Good job. Way to go. Keep it up. Stay positive,'" said Louie. 

That helped him focus on getting back to what he loves.

"The next time you see a new patient with cancer, when they ask if there is hope, now you know the answer," he said.

Steinberg is sad to report that Louie passed away shortly after this interview with him.

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