“I knew I wanted to be a doctor since at least the third grade, and I always thought in terms of helping people with cancer,” Dr. Varki said, adding that he was inspired by the example of his mother, who also is a medical oncologist. “I grew up seeing her concern for her patients, and her passion for ensuring that they received the best possible care. She was – and is – a wonderful role model.”
That interest in a medical career led Dr. Varki to Vanderbilt University, where he earned his undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, in biology and chemistry, and then remained to complete his medical degree at the university’s School of Medicine. He completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center and his medical oncology and hematology fellowship at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
After his fellowship, Dr. Varki practiced at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, where he initiated the hospital’s melanoma program. Immediately before joining RCCA, he practiced with an oncology/hematology group in central New York State.
Dr. Varki, who is affiliated with Chilton Medical Center, said he is enjoying settling into life in northern New Jersey and meeting the practice’s patients and area physicians.
While he treats the full range of cancers, the medical oncologist/hematologist has a particular focus on breast, lung, and gastrointestinal cancers, as well as melanoma and myeloma.
“This is a very exciting time to be practicing oncology and hematology because there is so much we’re able to do for our patients,” Dr. Varki said. He added, “New therapies are being developed at a rapid pace, allowing us to offer patients very effective treatments that can control or even cure cancer, prolonging life while providing patients with a good quality of life. RCCA enables patients to receive those therapies – and to have access to clinical trials – in convenient settings close to their homes.”
Dr. Varki explained that when he first meets a patient, his focus is on assuring that the person understands his or her diagnosis, and has ample opportunity to discuss any questions or concerns. Next, he thoroughly reviews various treatment options, outlining the nature, benefits, and potential side effects of each, so that the patient can be a fully informed partner in the decision-making process. Beyond emulating the caring approach that he saw his mother model, one other aspect of his childhood years enables Dr. Varki to communicate effectively with patients: “Growing up in Miami, I became conversational in Spanish, which can be very helpful as I talk with some patients and their families,” he explained.
Dr. Bernstein noted that Dr. Varki’s arrival is particularly well-timed, as RCCA prepares to move its Pompton Plains care center from the Chilton Medical Center campus to a nearby location. “With the addition of Dr. Varki and our impending relocation, we are expanding our team, our services, and our facilities so that we have an even-greater ability to meet area residents’ needs for comprehensive, coordinated cancer care right here in the community.”
Dr. Varki is among 90+ cancer specialists who treat patients at 25 RCCA care centers located throughout New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, DC, area. RCCA oncologists and hematologists see more than 23,000 new patients each year and provide care to more than 225,000 established patients, collaborating closely with their patients’ other physicians. They offer patients the latest in cutting-edge treatments, including immunotherapies and targeted therapy, as well as access to a wide range of clinical trials. In addition to serving patients who have solid tumors, blood-based cancers, and benign blood disorders such as anemia, RCCA care centers also provide infusion services to people with a number of non-oncologic conditions—including multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis—who take intravenously-administered medications.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Varki or to reach the Pompton Plains office, call 973-566-5040. To learn more about RCCA, call 844-928-0089 or visit RCCA.com.