Spotlight on Na Tosha Gatson, MD, Ph.D.


Meet Na Tosha Gatson, MD, Ph.D., Medical Director of Neuro-Oncology at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center and Associate Professor of Medicine & Neurology at UA College of Medicine - Phoenix. Dr. Gatson’s clinical interests include primary and metastatic brain tumors, cancer neurology issues (neurology symptoms secondary to cancer treatment), neuro-oncoimmunology, and reproductive and women’s neurology. Learn more about Dr. Gatson.

Q. What are some of the ways you focus on quality of life with patients who are facing the biggest battle of their lives?

A. We have all been taught to believe the old adage, “life is short.” I remind my patients that life itself is long— but I argue that the actual process of living is what is short. My patients and I develop a mutual understanding around what they consider good living, how they define quality, and who are the people and which roles they value.

Q. What might you say to someone newly diagnosed with a brain tumor to encourage them to maintain hope?

A. I waste no time reassuring our new patients that our team is fully prepared to offer leading-edge, evidence-based therapies aimed at maximal tumor control and care. Hope also requires communication. Our team places a special emphasis on compassionate patient communication on top of top-class expert clinical care.

Q. Ph.D., MD, professor, mother of three. What is a typical week like for you?

A. There are no fixed priorities that dictate my daily execution of duties. There are weekends and nights when patient care and grant writing take priority, and there are Monday mornings when I have to manage a fever or coach a child through “Handling a Class Bully 101.” With flexible principles for prioritization, I am able to thrive as a woman, a physician, and a scientist.