We are proud of our providers and all the fantastic work they do in our community. Throughout 2019, we’ll continue to feature interviews about the lives of our providers outside of the office.
Derek McHaffie, MD is our November 2019 Provider of the Month. Dr. McHaffie has been with Southeast Radiation Oncology Group since July 2011 and primarily sees patients at Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.
Tell us about yourself and your family.
I joined SERO in 2011 after completing my residency at the University of Wisconsin. I practice radiation oncology at the Levine Cancer Institute – Main. I am originally from Knoxville, TN, where I met my wife, Jill, while at the University of Tennessee. My college sweetheart and I have been married for 18 years and have 3 wonderful children, Ryann (14), Bo (11), and Mary Ellis (8).
Being a husband and father is the great joy of my life. We enjoy traveling as a family and are drawn to the mountains when given the opportunity. On most weekends we can be found at local ball fields, gyms, or swim meets. We have been blessed with eager and adventurous children who continually teach us that there is more.
What made you choose to work with cancer patients?
I attended medical school at East Tennessee State University and knew early in my training that I wanted to work exclusively with cancer patients. I am drawn to the opportunity to serve and lead patients and their families through what is often the challenge of a lifetime. The struggles and disappointments are many, but the rewards and relationships are rich. I am a better, more humble person as a result of the journeys taken, and for that I am thankful to each of my patients who have trusted me to share in their stories.
Why drew you to radiation therapy?
Becoming a radiation oncologist was an easy choice for me. The broad skill set required to practice modern radiation oncology and the diversity of patients that we are able to impact were a perfect match for my career goals. Being in a field of medicine that is driven by innovation is very rewarding, and I particularly enjoy integrating new technology into practice. I have a practice focus in prostate cancer with specialization in brachytherapy (internal radiation implants) and the use of radiopharmaceuticals (radiation drugs).
What are your hobbies outside of work?
I firmly believe I have the best job in the country and am excited to serve patients at the Levine Cancer Institute into the future. I consider myself fortunate to practice alongside so many skilled partners, whose many talents extend far outside medicine. Though I have long since hung it up, I was able to accomplish a black belt in Taekwondo. In college I was an English literature major and spent many of my quiet moments reading. I am currently re-reading Catch-22, as I enjoy a good satire or comedy as much as anything.
I am an avid college sports enthusiast and a long-suffering Volunteers football fan. My idea of fun is grilled wings and good friends over a great game. Though my current hobbies largely mirror my children’s activities, I am eager to learn how to fly fish.