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Dr. Nathalie Johnson
Dr. Nathalie Johnson is MORE THAN PINK® and sharing her unique philosophy on proper breast cancer treatment and care; as a breast cancer surgical oncologist, healer, and survivor, she can approach care in ways many others cannot.
When Dr. Johnson was 12, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and attributes a portion of her love for Oncology to that experience.
“I love taking care of cancer patients, and in particular, breast cancer,” Dr. Johnson said. “There are so many nuances around it and it just impacts people in so many ways – both women and men.”
When Dr. Johnson was first diagnosed with breast cancer, half of her wanted to keep it quiet; she soon realized that her own journey could create a connection in a whole new way with her own patients.
“My philosophy is that people are more than a disease; part of caring for someone is not only providing things that are covered by insurance, like medications and surgical procedures,” Dr. Johnson reflected. “You must understand their emotions, so you can individualize their care and speak to their spirit.
It’s restoring to my own spirit to see how people can walk back out on the other end [of cancer], and their families too. And even when people don’t make it…it’s still such a beautiful time to spend with somebody in their last days of life because if you can’t minister to their body anymore, they still have a spirit and a soul, and that makes such a difference.”
Dr. Johnson takes her unique method of care even further with song. Belovedly coined the “Beyoncé of Portland” by one of her patients, Dr. Johnson is known for singing to speak peace and love to her patients, especially as they go into surgery.
“One of the biggest things that I learned [through my own breast cancer journey] was to allow other people to give back to me because I’m always someone who gives – I’m always giving to others,” Dr. Johnson said lovingly. “But what a blessing when you get that back. As I was [in surgery] going to sleep, I heard the OR staff starting to sing to me…‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow.’ I just felt that love and spiritual connection in that moment and it was amazing and healing for me.”
Dr. Johnson advises anyone with breasts to check themselves because they can develop breast cancer.
“A lot of women, especially African American women, get breast cancer at younger ages,” Dr. Johnson stated. “So be aware; it’s not uncommon to see breast cancer in people’s 30s and early 40s.
She encourages everyone to get genetic testing, get screened, and live a healthy and nutritious lifestyle because there is so much we can do if we’re aware.
Dr. Johnson’s relationship with Susan G. Komen Oregon & SW Washington goes back many years and across many programs and events, which includes the leadership role she played on the Komen Board of Directors, Worship in Pink in October, and the re-imagined Race for the Cure – the MORE THAN PINK Walk™.