Meet Dr. Pow-Sang
Julio Pow-Sang, MD
Moffitt Urologic Surgeon
Nearly thirty years ago, Dr. Pow-Sang received a call from the Chief of the Urology Division at the University of South Florida regarding a position at the newly opened Moffitt Cancer Center. “It seems unimaginable how a place that was just an idea is now a tangible place which is at the level of major cancer centers. It's making an impact not only statewide but at the national and international level,” he reflects. Dr. Pow-Sang has also come a long way in the last few decades. Today, he is chairman of Moffitt’s genitourinary oncology clinic.
As a surgeon, Dr. Pow-Sang is seeing great strides in Moffitt’s effort to offer more precise treatment options. “We used to take whole kidneys out in all cases. We know better now and we only take part of the kidney in selected patients because we have better technology to define the cancer, and then better technology to deal with the cancer.”
This precision and attention to patient-tailored care speaks to Dr. Pow-Sang on a very personal level. “I'm on both sides of the fence because my sister, Mariela, was diagnosed with a terrible cancer – a Glioblastoma Multiforme.” Her diagnosis has given him a new perspective on cancer and patient care. “I turned from a doctor to a loved one – somebody who is a caregiver for the family.”
It’s clear that Dr. Pow-Sang and his sister believe whole-heartedly in Moffitt’s abilities because Mariela doesn’t live in the state. In fact, she doesn’t even live in the country. “She lives in Peru and flies in every month for treatment and check-ups,” he explains. But even with a serious diagnosis and the added trouble of travel, Mariela has found the strength to maintain a positive attitude. “She had a first surgery, radiation therapy and then chemotherapy. Then she had an intra-tumor virus injection and maintenance immunotherapy, and then she had a third procedure – a major surgery to take the tumor out. But there she is smiling and thinking about going to a Chinese restaurant after the surgery.”
When you consider the strides that Dr. Pow-Sang has made in surgery and robotics during his time at Moffitt, it would be natural to consider him an inspiration. But if you ask him, it’s the patients he treats and his own sister who are truly remarkable. “She's not off the hook, but you know, there are a lot of little victories every single minute of the day. And recognizing that is what defines courage. If you're talking about somebody being courageous, it's her."