Dr Clay, the newest member of the growing Genesis Cancer Care hub, said the relationships he formed with patients and their families, and the science behind cancer medicine, was what drew him to the field.
‘As oncologists, we tend to look after a person and their family throughout the course of their treatment and their illness if they’re unwell,’ he said.
‘So it’s developing a relationship with the patient, taking them through treatment and managing side effects and symptoms. We are constantly trying to improve the treatments we have both in terms of maintaining people’s quality of life and having them live longer.
‘There’s a lot of research happening, a lot of new and exciting treatments coming through that have really changed the practice of cancer medicine over the last two decades or so.’
Teaming with fellow oncologist Andrew Dean at the purpose-built facility, Dr Clay expects to treat about 20-25 private patients each day.
‘It’s the ability for patients to get in and be seen quickly by a medical oncologist and to have their chemotherapy treatment close to home in a comfortable environment,’ he said.
‘We also work on-site with radiation oncologists. Having both parts of their cancer management in the same spot is nice for the patients; it brings familiarity and they get to know the reception and the nursing staff and get comfortable.’
When he’s not treating patients, the Formula 1 fan enjoys watching the sport and spending time with his two children Patrick (4) and Alexis (1), who he says help to take his mind off work and relax.
‘The hardest thing about doing this job is when you meet someone who either reminds you of yourself or they remind you of a family member ” that can sometimes be very challenging,’ he said.
‘And also circumstances where people are struggling to come to terms with what’s going on, so trying to help them process what’s happening.
‘There are a number of cancers that are preventable now with dietary and lifestyle factors but cancer still happens out of the blue and often you’re seeing people who were going about their daily lives, and all of a sudden they’ve got this medical problem that’s come out of nowhere, and it’s having to interrupt their work, their families or their retirement to deal with.’
He said allowing those suffering from an incurable condition to have the freedom to do what is most important in their lives was an important part of his care.