Mercy continues its focus on cancer care with the addition of Dr. Kertrisa McWhite, Oklahoma City’s only fellowship-trained surgical breast oncologist.
Dr. McWhite brings a decade of experience providing a full range of surgical options to patients battling breast cancer, along with genetic counseling services for women with histories of breast cancer in their families.
She describes herself as a “fixer” and attributes her gravitation toward surgery to that characteristic. She likes surgery because it’s technical, but she also enjoys the emotional support she can offer a patient undergoing a personal procedure like a mastectomy.
“It’s not just surgery,” said McWhite. “It’s a relationship. When you first meet eyes and discuss the diagnosis, something special happens. Breast surgery is so much more personal than, say, a knee surgery. My patients know I’m going to be with them every step of the way. I follow my patients forever.”
In addition to being a “fixer,” McWhite says she sees part of her role as “teacher.”
“I like to help my patients understand their options for dealing with breast cancer,” said McWhite. “It’s my job to inform my patient so she can make the best decision for her lifestyle.”
She earned her Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Yale University, went to medical school at MCP-Hahnemann School of Medicine in Philadelphia and completed her residency at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, NJ. She completed her unique-to-Oklahoma City surgical breast oncology fellowship training at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas, one of the most prestigious surgical breast oncology fellowships in the U.S.
McWhite joins Mercy breast surgeon Dr. Brian Robert Boggs, who has more than 25 years of general surgical experience, with six years of that dedicated to breast surgery. The surgeons will be supported by an entire team devoted to breast health at Mercy, including Dr. Alan Hollingsworth – a leading clinical researcher in early detection of breast cancer– who serves as medical director for Mercy Women’s Center.
Mercy is the sixth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 33 acute care hospitals, four heart hospitals, two children’s hospitals, two rehab hospitals and one orthopedic hospital, nearly 700 clinic and outpatient facilities, 40,000 co-workers and more than 2,100 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.