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 chair in genitourinary oncology and has been chief of surgery and director of Moffitt’s robotic surgery program.
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 speak 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 gave 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 believes wholeheartedly in Moffitt’s abilities, because Mariela didn’t live in the state. In fact, she didn’t even live in the country. “She lived in Peru and flew in every month for treatment and check-ups,” he explains. But even with a serious diagnosis and the added trouble of travel, Mariela found the strength to maintain a positive attitude. “She had 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 was 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.
"My sister passed away after four years of fighting a battle with cancer. She did it with courage and grace. We were blessed to share the last few years with her and the rest of the family. We were also fortunate to have Moffitt by our side all the way to the end."