Meet Leslie Ballas, MD, assistant clinical professor of radiation oncology at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her goal is to provide exceptional cancer care for her patients using state-of-the-art radiation technology.

Here’s what you won’t find on her resume:

She fancied the idea of wearing a uniform to work.

“Where I grew up in Wisconsin, the gas-station attendants wore zip-up jump suits. It looked like such a fun work outfit. Fortunately for me, doctors also get to wear uniforms. ”

Family means a great deal to her.

“My husband and six-year old daughter are the world to me. When I am not at work, I spend my time with them, going to the movies, baking or trying new foods and restaurants. We also love to travel; my favorite place to visit is Blackberry Farm in Tennessee.”

There’s a shocking truth about her.

“Even though I grew up in Wisconsin, I don’t like the Green Bay Packers or cheese.”

Her passion goes beyond medicine.

“If I could trade careers with anyone in the world, I would love to be a pastry chef.”

But, medicine is in her blood.

“My dad is a urologist, and my grandfather was an internist. Following in their footsteps was a natural career choice for me.

Her patients are the best part of her job.

“Getting to know my patients – and their families – is the most rewarding part of what I do. Being involved in their lives at a critical time creates a bond between us that I find incredibly rewarding. I find meaning in helping cure my patients’ cancer – and even when that is not possible, in alleviating their cancer-related pain.”

The last book she read…

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, which is an autobiography about a neurosurgeon and his final year of life after being diagnosed with lung cancer.”

Technology has revolutionized her practice.

“Radiation oncology uses a lot of sophisticated technologies. Now we can give more focused treatment for many cancers without as many side effects.”

USC is a special place for patients and physicians alike.

“I love academic medicine. It allows me to spend time investigating research questions that I am passionate about, mentor medical students and help them discover what kind of physicians they want to become and interact with various types of patients. USC provides me opportunities in all of these areas and invests in its faculty’s success – just as it invests in the success of its patients.”

Dr. Ballas is an assistant clinical professor of radiation oncology at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. Click here to view Dr. Ballas’s physician profile.