Curing cancer is sort of like being president—it’s what we’d
all like to add to our bucket list, but only a few actually set out to make it
a reality. One of those few is Dr. Maitland DeLand, a radiation oncologist who
is using her hobby—writing—to help kids and families better understand what
cancer is and how they can beat it. We asked her to give us the 411 on how she
makes her career and her passion work together…
All about me
In high school, I was
a…good student and was involved in athletics, music and the book club
My first job was…babysitting
and I loved it because I could read to children and teach them.
And back then, I
thought I wanted to be a teacher or doctor when I grew up.
In college, I…
was a biology major with a minor in French. I also tutored in math and French.
And right now, I am a
physician and a writer and I love it!
What I do
In a nutshell, my job
is to treat woman and children who have a cancer diagnosis. I also
write children’s novels.
When I tell people
what I do, they think it’s interesting, challenging, and they wonder if I
have any free time!
The best part of my
day is when I can tell a patient that they are cancer free.
The worst part of my
job is dealing with emotionally painful situations, especially children who
have been diagnosed with cancer. I have written a series of children’s health
books so that I can help patients and their families deal with a difficult
When I first got my
job, I was surprised that there was a big difference between working in a
private practice versus a large institution. I trained at Duke
I got my job by
networking and interviewing for a cancer physician position.
My biggest career
achievement so far is knowing that I have treated all patients with the
best possible care and given them their best chance to beat cancer.
My next career goal
is to continue to write books and novels to explain various illnesses and
treatments in a way that is easy to understand. By sharing my
experience and knowledge, through storytelling, I believe it removes the
frightening aspect of a very serious diagnosis.
And how you can do
This job might be
right for you if… you feel a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when
you perform your job and look forward to going to work every day.
You might want to try
something else if… the career path you chose is not really what you thought
it would be. You might be better suited for something else. It is best to give
each opportunity a chance but to know when your heart is not on the same path.
The one thing you
need to do right now is… have an open mind about all of your possibilities
and career choices.
At some point in high
school, try to… choose an elective that may be something that you know
nothing about, yet it intrigues you. You may just discover that you love it and
are good at it!
When you’re thinking
about college, consider… the strengths of each school, the sports
activities and other special programs that are geared toward your
My best advice for
getting a job—any job!—is… to prepare for your interview by researching the
company thoroughly, dressing appropriately and answering all questions to the
best of your ability. Remember, honesty is key in any position!
Oh, and one more
Please know and consider that choosing a profession is a
life choice. Your heart needs to be in it and it needs to be your
passion. Also, you need to have hobbies that you are passionate
about. For example, my hobby is to write books. One must always follow their
dreams and their heart. Whether or not a specific choice turns out exactly as
planned, remember, “if at first you don’t succeed try, try again." This
should remain your motto throughout your life!
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