Cancer care is a partnership between the physician and the patient. I want all of my patients to be fully informed consumers, and I hope to empower them to deal with the gravity of their diagnosis and treatment and perhaps emerge with new insights and a greater sense of wholeness on the other side.
Education: M.D., University of Texas Southwestern Medical School
Internship: Colorado Health Foundation
Residency: University of California San Diego
About Dr. Chris A. Straka
Dr. Chris A. Straka graduated from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in 2015. He completed his radiation oncology residency at University of California San Diego (UCSD), where he served as the chief resident and is currently an assistant professor. Through several impactful experiences, including having a family member diagnosed with cancer, Dr. Straka decided early on in medical school to pursue a career in oncology. He chose radiation oncology because he loved the physical science and technology components, coupled with the opportunity to develop deep relationships with patients.
Some of the most common cancers Dr. Straka treats include central nervous system, skin, head and neck, lymphoma, breast, lung, gastrointestinal, gynecological and prostate. In addition to providing state-of-the-art cancer treatments, Dr. Straka is actively involved in developing e-health tools (smartphone apps, websites, digital presentations, etc.) to help patients better understand and cope with their diagnosis and treatment. He is also very interested in an emerging paradigm of treating oligometastatic (only a few metastases) cancers with short-course, highly targeted radiation using a technique called stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR). Early published studies following this paradigm are very exciting and suggest that certain patients with stage IV cancer may benefit significantly from this targeted therapy.
Dr. Straka believes things that cannot be seen or measured are just as important as things that can. He focuses on his patients’ emotional and mental well-being in addition to addressing their physical concerns. He is always willing to spend as much time with patients as they need, and he schedules his clinic to give extra time for every patient consultation. He hopes to provide patients with a clear-eyed view of what they are facing, unpack the variety of modern treatment options available to them, and give them a renewed sense of hope and purpose.
Dr. Straka grew up in Virginia and dreamed of learning to surf and living by the ocean. He now gets to live that dream alongside his wife, two boys and a dog named Happy. In addition to work, Dr. Straka also enjoys traveling, snowboarding, hiking, scuba diving and reading science fiction.
Throughout his career, Dr. Chris A. Straka has participated in research and received several grants and scholarships. He was awarded a merit-based, full tuition scholarship to attend Duke University and also received merit-based scholarships to attend medical school.
He has received research grants from the American College of Radiation Oncology (ACRO) and the UCSD Altman Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences. He has presented at the San Diego Innovation Showcase and was a finalist in the First Look SoCal Innovation Showcase. Dr. Chris A. Straka is the founder and CEO of RadCare Health, co-founder of the UCSD Radiation Oncology Humanism course, and leads a church-affiliated community group.