Michelle Shen, M.D.
The chance to develop personal connections with patients led Michelle Shen, M.D., to choose breast surgery as a specialty.
Now, after launching her career in her native Texas, Dr. Shen is building relationships with patients and fellow providers in Lancaster. Dr. Shen, who joined The Surgical Group of Lancaster General Health in May, is impressed with the treatment and support options available to local patients.
“The Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Center offers everything patients need in one building, from imaging to surgery, radiology, oncology and plastics,” she said. “We offer a truly multidisciplinary approach to breast cancer.”
Dr. Shen, who grew up in Dallas, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania before returning to her home state for medical school and general surgery residency at the University of Texas in San Antonio and Houston, respectively.
She approached the end of her general surgery training still undecided on a specialty. Then she recalled how much she enjoyed the patients she met while staffing a breast clinic during residency.
Dr. Shen completed a fellowship in breast surgical oncology at UT’s MD Anderson Cancer Center, where she remained on the faculty for three years before moving to Lancaster.
“You get to form a deep relationship with your patients and really get to know them,” she said of breast surgery. “You can support them during a really trying time in their lives. Also, my mom had breast cancer, so it really hit close to home.”
Dr. Shen enjoys working collaboratively with members of ABBCI’s multidisciplinary team. She looks forward to observing Penn Medicine breast surgeons to ensure that local providers follow a uniform approach that utilizes the latest research.
“We want to make sure we’re up-to-date with the latest trends in breast-cancer treatment, so we can offer local patients leading-edge treatment options,” which include nipple-sparing and other breast conservation techniques, she said.
Dr. Shen also looks forward to working with local OB-GYNs and primary-care providers to offer patients coordinated, convenient access to the cancer center’s services. Interestingly, she’s already noticed more older patients, as well as men with breast cancer, here than in Texas.
“We work as a team with primary-care providers,” she said. “We want providers and patients to know that we offer comprehensive breast services, from benign breast disease to cancer diagnosis to high-risk surveillance to genetic screening and genetic education.”
Once Dr. Shen establishes her local practice, she hopes to find time for hobbies. She always wanted to be a concert pianist -- and learn to play the violin. But right now she’s happy to devote her time to getting to know Lancaster, her fellow providers and patients.
“Developing relationships with patients is the most rewarding part,” she said. “It’s gratifying to know that I’ve played a role in their lives and helped them.”