Dr. Karlos Oregel, MD is a board-certified internist in Southern California. He is also board certified in both Medical Oncology and Hematology.
Dr. Oregel joined the Oceanview Medical Specialist who provide specialized medical care to the Ventura County Medical Center and associated clinics. Formerly, Dr. Oregel worked in private practice at the Pacific Shores Medical Group in Orange County, California.
>> Tell us a little about yourself?
I was born and raised in Santa Ana, CA to immigrant parents from Mexico. I was the first in my family to have an opportunity to go to college and subsequently to medical school. I have been blessed and fortunate to have been mentored by respected professors, astute physicians, and leaders in the field throughout my career.
>> Why did you choose this field in medicine?
I believe oncology has become a subspecialty that encompasses all of the principles and ideals of what drove me to become a doctor in the first place, and possibly more.
Nonetheless, I never considered focusing my medical career entirely on fighting cancer. My initial interest was in primary care and working with underserved communities to improve communication and education, as well as in promoting preventative medicine.
It was during my training as an intern and resident that the world of oncology unexpectedly showed me a struggle that I had become very familiar with during my childhood, namely that of survival.
I was exposed to advanced malignancies, rare manifestations of cancer, and smart physicians who faced these problems head on. I was immediately drawn to the field because of that.
Furthermore, over time I gained a deeper understanding of the specialty and saw the potential to change people’s lives. It was through those patients and their struggle to fight cancer that I learned of the misfortune and ugliness of life. Also, and more importantly, I learned about the power of love, friendship and maintaining hope throughout this journey.
>> What do you think makes for a good Oncologist?
In fighting cancer, I came to understand that you must become a complete and well-rounded physician that has a strong foundation in general medicine. You also need to have a knowledge base that dips into every subspecialty because cancer can affect any cell in your body.
I believe you end up becoming a physician that can wear many hats: that of a primary care provider, radiologist, scientist, pathologist, counselor, and community leader. Furthermore, you become well- equipped to diffuse emotionally charged situations and bring order and structure to chaos. At the same time, you must have the capacity to provide empathy, clarity, realistic expectations and individualized plans.
In fact, one of the first lessons in my training was in understanding my patients’ limitations and ultimately my own.
>> How do you view the relationship you undertake with your patients?
I believe that as an oncologist you enter into a unique journey with each patient and their loved ones. You are given a level of trust unlike any other branch of medicine. It becomes a privilege and a gift, but one that also carries commitment, responsibility, and perpetual study. You have to remember to treat the person and patient and not necessarily just the cancer itself. Often, treating the person means not treating the cancer anymore.
>> What are your career objectives? Now and in the near future?
My initial career objective remains firm nonetheless. I am now working with underserved and disenfranchised communities. I want to use my knowledge and expertise to help those communities battle cancer and blood diseases.
Another goal is to support clinical trials that aim at understanding the cultural intricacies of cancer and how those differences affect outcomes and our therapies.
>> Where do you see the future of your field?
The field of cancer and blood diseases is in constant change and evolving towards a positive direction as our therapies become more focused and less toxic. Our knowledge of the underlying genomics and pathways driving these diseases is becoming more complete and that makes it an exciting time to be in this field. Utilizing all of this science and research to fight cancer is ultimately to the benefit of the patient.
>> Any last comments?
Unfortunately, the fight against cancer will continue. However, I feel excited and privileged to have the opportunity to play a small part in the battle. Most importantly, it’s gratifying to be able to make a positive impact on my patients’ lives and on the lives of their loved ones!