ALTON — Dr. Kevin Palka, a board-certified medical oncologist and hematologist with Saint Anthony’s Health Center, was an invited panelist at last week’s American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago.
Palka served on a panel for a career development session entitled “Why I Love the Career I Chose” with a diverse array of cancer specialists, including Dr. Mace Rothenberg (senior vice president of clinical development and medical affairs at Pfizer), Dr. Richard Pazdur (U.S. Food and Drug Administration), Dr. Johanna Bendell (Sarah Cannon Research Institute) and Dr. Daniel Hayes (University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center). The panel discussed career opportunities available for oncologists in the United States, and Palka represented hospital-based practices.
“It was a great honor to represent Alton as a panelist at the 50th anniversary ASCO meeting, alongside prominent figures in oncology like Dr. Rothenberg and Dr. Hayes,” Palka said. “I think it is important for fellows in training to understand the importance of community oncologists, as well as the benefits of working for a community hospital like Saint Anthony’s.
“If you work for a close-knit, supportive hospital, like I do, you can focus on patient care, and not office administration.”
The ASCO Annual Meeting brings together more than 25,000 oncology professionals from a broad range of specialties. This year’s conference — marking the 50th anniversary of ASCO — included information about clinical trials, new drugs, palliative care and survivorship, as well as the latest updates on cancer treatment options.
Palka has served as chairman of the Oncology Committee at Saint Anthony’s Health Center in Alton since 2013, soon after joining Saint Anthony’s Physician Group. In addition to Saint Anthony’s Health Center and Jersey Community Hospital, he is on the medical staff of Anderson Hospital in Maryville. Before coming to Alton, Palka treated patients at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where he also served as assistant professor of medicine. A Duke University undergraduate and Fulbright Scholar, Palka attended medical school at the University of Texas-Southwestern in Dallas. He completed advanced fellowship training in hematology/oncology at Vanderbilt University in 2009 and is board -certified in oncology and hematology, as well as in internal medicine.
To make an appointment with Palka or for information about cancer services, call (618) 474-4855.