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Healthy Balance

7 Quick Questions: Dr. Shayna Showalter

Ever wonder what your doctor or health provider does outside the exam room? Our 7 Quick Questions series gives you a personal glimpse into the people of UVA.

Dr. Showalter works with patients in the UVA breast care program.
Dr. Showalter, surgical oncologist, works with patients in the UVA breast care program.

What did you want to be when you were little?
A veterinarian. I was an avid horseback rider and loved being outside with animals.

What’s your favorite place to travel?
Depends on if I am with my kids or not! My husband and I love to travel and see new places; our favorite trips have been to the rainforests in Belize and to Machu Pichu in Peru. When we are with the kids, we enjoy being at the beach with all of their cousins and grandparents.

What’s one thing you always have in your fridge?
Milk (I have three young kids, and we go through a lot of milk).

What’s the most unhealthy thing you eat?
Candy, specifically Sour Patch Kids. I have a major sweet tooth.

What’s the most exciting thing/research happening in your field right now?
At UVA, we are working hard to start an intra-operative radiation program. This would involve breast cancer patients having their radiation treatment in one dose and at the same time as their breast surgery, instead of the traditional daily treatments over 4-6 weeks. This will be a huge advancement in the treatment of early stage breast cancer and will allow women to return to their normal lives much faster.

Why breast care?
I chose to be a breast surgical oncologist specifically because I wanted a specialty that allows for long-term relationships with patients. The field is exciting, as there is ongoing research that focuses on improving and individualizing the surgical and adjuvant treatments we offer to our patients with breast cancer. I am lucky to have found a specialty that allows me to have a lasting impact on my patients while also providing multiple research opportunities that will continue to allow us to move forward with the latest treatments.

Who’s your inspiration/hero?
My dad. My dad was a busy and innovative cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon. He loved his job and I was inspired by this from an early age. He continues to impress upon my sisters and me the importance of finding an impacting and rewarding career. My father cared deeply for his patients. I often saw him go out of his way to take exceptional care of them. My desire to emulate my dad definitely provided me motivation through my long medical and surgical training.

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