As the third anniversary of Hope Cancer Care of Nevada opening in Pahrump passes this month, co-founder Dr. Raja Mehdi said he wants patients to know they have a choice when it comes to where they receive their cancer treatment.
Located at 2340 E. Calvada Blvd., the inside of HCC of Nevada doesn’t look like the typical doctor’s office. Chandeliers casting soft light hang from the ceiling and the patient areas are made up of large, cushy, leather lounge chairs surrounded by floor to ceiling privacy curtains.
The comfortable ambiance of the office closely matches Mehdi’s approach to medicine; trying to make patients comfortable while going through an unpleasant experience.
Mehdi said the oncology practice first began in Las Vegas after he decided he wanted to focus on treating patients the way he felt was best for them, not the way a company policy dictated they be treated.
“I didn’t want to be told by corporate people what to do with my patients, increasingly so with the business of medicine. Insurance companies tell you what you can and cannot do for the patients, and I don’t think that’s right. Everyone means well, but they just see it from the other side. They only see numbers, they don’t have the opportunity to sit across from the patients,” he explained.
As part of that belief, Mehdi says he tries to make a connection with each of his patients, to truly understand their needs and to show them he is vested in their recovery.
“Their treatment works better when there is a connection there,” the oncologist explained. “I try to make a connection with each of my patients because I feel it’s important. And it only takes a little bit longer to listen to do that and it absolutely makes a difference.”
Mehdi is a board-certified medical oncologist. He graduated from Aga Khan University Medical College in Karachi, Pakistan, before conducting his residency in internal medicine at Case Western Reserve University at St. Vincent Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio where he was appointed chief resident. He then went on to practice for more than five years at the Comprehensive Cancer Center at St. Francis Hospital in Topeka, Kan. Dr. Mehdi is also board certified in internal medicine and has completed a fellowship in medical oncology at the Providence Cancer Institute in partnership with the University of Michigan.
Although HCC of Nevada started with just one office in Las Vegas, Mehdi said they decided to expand to Pahrump in 2011 after learning one of their patients was making weekly trips over the pass for her chemotherapy.
The doctor said once they saw the need here they wanted to find a way to make it easier on patients, who may already be feeling nauseous or ill, by cutting down on their commute time to and from treatment.
So HCC of Nevada opened a second office in Pahrump and has been seeing patients here once a week ever since.
And while Mehdi is happy to see any patient needing his services, he feels what is most important is to help them learn about the different options available to them when it comes to their treatment and where they receive it.
“People should know they have the ability to pick their provider and where they receive their treatment,” he said.
Even if a patient chooses not to receive treatment at the HCC of Nevada Pahrump office, Mehdi said he wants to be a resource to patients to help guide them in a direction that works best for their recovery.
In continuing with that sentiment, Mehdi recently began work on a television show called Eye on Cancer, which airs on KPVM every other Monday at 5:30 p.m.
The doctor answers questions emailed or called into the station prior to the show and discusses other various cancer-related topics. He said he hopes viewers will be able to learn more about the services available to cancer patients in their own community and to provide more information about the disease.
Mehdi is also starting a cancer support group, which will be held at Desert View Hospital as well. The first meeting will be April 29 at 4 p.m. For more information about the support group contact Ryan Muccio at 702-672-6559 or Muccio.Ryan@gmail.com.
The HCC of Nevada Pahrump office is open on Tuesdays. For more information about the practice visit hccnevada.com or call 1-800-881-4226.