Annual Report 2021 - Page 21



When he was just a few months old , Nicolas

Villanueva was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma , a rare liver cancer that can affect children between birth and the age of three . Doctors rushed to remove the cancer in Villanueva ’ s liver and began a regimen of chemotherapy . His pediatric oncologist recommended that Villanueva ’ s parents enroll him in a clinical trial through the UH Cancer Center , which would offer them the latest treatment options .
Villanueva spent a lot of time in the hospital as a child and had routine follow-up care to monitor for any cancer recurrence throughout his childhood . Although Villanueva was too young at diagnosis to recall memories of his cancer treatments , he has fond memories of attending camp for childhood cancer survivors and for those undergoing treatment . These experiences , along with his appreciation for clinical trials and having survived his battle with cancer , influenced Villanueva to become a physician . Throughout high school and college , Villanueva volunteered at hospitals , shadowed physicians and participated in cancer research . These activities solidified his decision to become an oncologist and to give back by making a difference for cancer patients .
In 2013 , Villanueva graduated from the John A . Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawai ‘ i . He completed his internal medicine residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia Medical Center and did his Hematology / Oncology Fellowship at the University of California San Diego . Villanueva now specializes in adult hematology / oncology at the Sullivan Care Center at The Queen ’ s Medical Center-West O ‘ ahu , The Queen ’ s Medical Center in Honolulu , and Kuakini Medical Plaza . As an oncologist who is also a pediatric cancer survivor , Dr . Villanueva encourages his cancer patients to enroll in clinical trials to receive the best cancer care possible .
“ There are a lot of misperceptions about clinical trials ,” Villanueva said . “ Providing more education may help patients understand how clinical trials could possibly fit into their cancer treatment .”