“With radiation oncology you can really help a lot of people. Cancer survivors need special care and special follow up. It's a great feeling to see people for follow up when things are going well.”
“LEADING EDUCATOR AND DIRECTOR OF RADIATION ONCOLOGY”
As a teenager, Nancy Ellerbroek was interested in health, always wanting to know more about any illness or disease she'd heard or read about. As a college undergraduate, she majored in physics partly because she had math skills but also because physics was one of the hardest of majors.
"I always liked challenges and was inspired to go into medicine because it was a challenge and I could help people. I thought there was just so much that you could do for people when you were a doctor," she recalls.
"Then, when I was in medical school, I was interested in different fields but I spent two days in radiation oncology with a wonderful professor, Dr. Edward Langdon. He had us meet patients who had undergone radiation therapy and hear their stories. And he had stories of his own. I ended up spending my vacation working in radiation oncology. I wanted to know everything I could about the field. It is such a powerful medical intervention tool."
Today, Ellerbroek is both a researcher and teacher of radiation oncology, with special interest in the treatment of breast, head and neck, and lung cancer.
Nominated a Local Legend by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA-27), she is Medical Director in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, and also is in private practice with the Valley Radiotherapy Medical Group, of El Segundo.
After an Internal Medicine internship at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, in Los Angeles, she completed a residency in Radiation Oncology at UCLA in 1987, then was an Assistant Professor of Radiotherapy at the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for three years. Returning to California after this, she served another three years at Loma Linda University Medical Center, ending as an Associate Professor of Radiation Medicine.
As a member of the Program Committee for the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), she has been instrumental in planning medical meetings and arranging discussion topics, an educational service she continues with the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO). She is also a past President of the American Association for Women Radiologists.
Ellerbroek is the author or co-author of numerous articles, abstracts, presentations, and chapters in the medical literature, and has been a member of the editorial board of the journal Radiology. She is a Fellow of the American College of Radiology.
"I like the challenge of getting to the bottom of a patient's problem and figuring out how best to help them. Sometimes the information is missing and I turn into a part-time detective, hunting down X-rays and pathology reports.
"The most rewarding aspect of my life as a physician is interacting with patients who are often fearful of radiation treatment. Helping them through treatment is really rewarding; making sure they get answers to the all the questions they may have is really important.
"My greatest achievement? My family. Being a wife and mother of four children–no explanation needed," she happily concludes.
Appointed Assistant Professor of Radiotherapy, The University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX
Appointed Assistant Professor (later Associate Professor) of Radiation Medicine, Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda, CA
Appointments: Program Committee (1990-1993), Counselor (1998-2003), and Editorial Board (2004-2005) Radiological Society of North America (RSNA)
Appointed Medical Director, Department of Radiation Oncology, Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, Mission Hills and Santa Clarita, CA
Joins Valley Radiotherapy Associates Medical Group, El Segundo, CA
Elected President, Southern California Radiation Oncology Society
Appointed Membership Committee, Co-Chair Spring Program, Education Committee, American Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO)
Elected President, American Association for Women Radiologists (AAWR)
University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine, Los Angeles