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Dr. Philip Koo: Why Medicine?

Koo-WEBDr. Phillip Koo is Division Chief of Diagnostic Imaging at the Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Prostatepedia spoke with him about imaging recurrent prostate cancer. But first we asked him why he became a doctor.

Dr. Philip Koo: I became a doctor in large part because I couldn’t imagine anything better than spending my life learning about the human body and using that knowledge to improve human health. Given that I tended to do better in science and math, medicine provided a nice fit.

Why radiology?

Dr. Koo: During medical school rotations, you try a variety of specialties. A common theme in all my rotations was the central value or importance of imaging within the care of a patient. That piqued my interest in radiology. When I learned about radiology, I was captivated by looking at images or different techniques to capture a certain body process anatomically or physiologically and by being able to use that information combined with the clinical scenario in order to come up with a diagnosis.

Did you ever study engineering? I’ve been reading a lot about how radiology and imaging are becoming incorporated into the tech world, such as with IBM Watson.

Dr. Koo: I’m not much of a techie. Before I switched to one of those flat screens, my friends used to joke that I was the last person in the United States to have a tube TV.

To me, it’s not necessarily a disconnect with radiology because radiology is the practice of medicine. It is an art. No matter how much technology we implement, there still is an art to the way you practice the science of radiology.

There is no question that technology has caused a tremendous growth in our field over the past 10 to 20 years. These technologies were disruptive and beneficial to our specialty. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are the newest technologies poised to disrupt the specialty. As a specialty, we are embracing these tools and finding ways that they can be utilized to improve patient care.

Join us to read Dr. Koo’s comments on imaging + prostate cancer.