For hematologist-oncologist Alexander Chehrazi-Raffle, MD, the opportunity to join City of Hope and its famed prostate cancer team has been something of a long and strange journey. When Chehrazi-Raffle was growing up in Marin County, Northern California, her life was all about music, not medicine.
This love of music was born from his parents, who also gave him his unique surname. “My mother’s name is Chehrazi and my father’s last name is Raffle,” he explains, “I guess they thought ‘Raffle’ would be too easy a name to live with!” But it was his father who instilled in him his lifelong love for music. “My first concert was on my 10th birthday,” he recalls with a laugh. “My dad snuck me out of the house and we went to the Oakland Coliseum to see the Grateful Dead. That’s how it started.
More than 400 gigs later and with a post-college resume in the music industry that included the William Morris agency and Universal Music Group Distribution, as Chehrazi-Raffle headed toward his 30th birthday, he turned realized he was in the wrong place.
“I didn’t have a light out – it was a slow process of realizing that there was a lack of fulfillment in my work in the music industry. I felt like I wanted to do more in my life, to add more of my own efforts to the world, rather than just helping musicians sell their music,” he said.
Chehrazi-Raffle therefore began her career towards medicine, first with the Chicago Medical School School of Medicine at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, then at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center for her residency. Chehrazi-Raffle earned his medical license in California in 2017. During those formative years, he also met his wife, who is currently a cardiology fellow at Harbor UCLA and the mother of their infant son, Cyrus.
Chehrazi-Raffle began her experience at City of Hope by doing a hematology and medical oncology fellowship with City of Hope and Harbor UCLA Medical Center in 2019, including research studies in these specialties, and officially joined the medical staff in September as an assistant professor in the Department of Medical Oncology and Therapeutic Research. “City of Hope is such a special place,” he says. “It’s a whole company dedicated to this unified vision of trying to cure cancer.”
He is also excited about the progress made by City of Hope healthcare professionals in the treatment of prostate cancer. “I had the advantage of already working with Dr. [Tanya] Dorf,” he said. “She has done significant research on prostate cancer, and just attending these research meetings, it was quite breathtaking to see what is on the horizon in terms of treatment options for prostate cancer. There are so many exciting new trials she’s leading. I’m thrilled to be a part of them.”
Chehrazi-Raffle joins a City of Hope team that has made great strides in diagnosing and treating prostate cancer in recent years, improving early diagnosis by adding more urologists to staff at the many sites in the clinical network of the institution that encourage early detection of disease, as well as the acquisition of an important new surgical tool found on the main campus. The new da Vinci single-port robotic surgery device allows surgeons to perform minimally invasive and precise surgeries that allow most prostate cancer patients to go home the same day.
“I really like the combination of being part of a cutting-edge research team and being in a place that provides exceptional patient care,” Chehrazi-Raffle said. “It really is a special place.”
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