Stephen Banks, MD

Radiation Oncology

Accepting new patients


Radiation Oncologist Profile

Cancer is a journey not a destination, so my goal is always to make that journey through treatment as smooth and comfortable as possible for the patients I treat. As a radiation oncologist at the NorthBay Cancer Center, I see my role as caretaker, educator and occasionally cheerleader to help my patients get through what can sometimes be a difficult course of therapy.

When I first started medical school, I didn’t know what field of medicine I wanted to go into, but I was sure that I didn’t want to treat cancer. I thought, “How depressing that must be!” But I was wrong. I had the opportunity to work in radiation oncology at Stanford University and the experience completely changed my view of cancer care. It isn’t depressing. In fact, there is probably no more rewarding medical field. I see patients at a huge time of need, when they need someone who can connect with them and understand emotionally what they are going through and respect that while also taking good technical care of them. That feeling of being able to impact someone’s life at such a crucial time is very empowering and I find it is one of the most rewarding things I ever could have considered doing.

After I completed my medical residency at Stanford, I had the opportunity to work in Washington, D.C. with one of the pioneers in brachytherapy and I learned a great deal. I came back to California, because I love the West Coast and I came to NorthBay with the encouragement of an urologist with whom I have worked. I realized fairly quickly that the people here are dedicated to accomplishing the same things I’m dedicated to: optimal patient experience with optimal patient outcomes. And being able to practice at a cancer center with cutting edge technology and quality staff is really rewarding.

I care for patients with a variety of cancers including head and neck, lung, and gastrointestinal, but my primary focus has been treating men with prostate cancer, specifically using brachytherapy. In radiation oncology, the radiation can be delivered in different modalities, including external beam radiation therapy using a large machine called a linear accelerator, but it can also include something called brachytherapy, which involves placing radioactive seeds directly into the patient’s prostate as a way of treating their cancer.

One of the reasons I focus on prostate cancer treatment is that I enjoy and appreciate working with that patient population. It’s challenging because men have many options for how to treat prostate cancer and my role as an educator is to help them understand the process of their disease and why certain treatments make sense for them while others may not. They face some challenging decisions and anything I can do to help them feel empowered to make the right choice for themselves, is really important.

I find the greatest joy in my work just knowing that I’ve done everything I can to help my patient have the best experience they can and the best outcome we can provide for them.

Cancer care is always best done in a multi-discipline type of practice, so I work closely with the medical oncologists, surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, nurse navigators, social workers, dieticians, and genetic counselors – they all have a significant impact on the treatment of our patients.

When I am not at work, I enjoy eating well, exercising and trying to live with as little stress as possible. I enjoy hiking, spending time at the beach, skiing or just escaping to Tahoe or the Mendocino coast.

Locations:

1020 Nut Tree Road
Suite 190
Vacaville, CA
Education:

Medical Degree, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California Internal Medicine Internship, Kaiser Permanente, Santa Clara, California Residency in Radiation Oncology, Stanford University Hospital, Stanford, California
Certifications:

  • Board Certified in Radiation Oncology
Professional Memberships:

  • American Brachytherapy Society
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology
  • American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology
  • Northern California Radiation Oncology Society
Languages Spoken:

  • English

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Learn more about the other Radiation Oncology providers at NorthBay Healthcare.