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Nina Decker, MSW, LCSW, is a member of the KCA’s Clinical Advisory Board and sees patients at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. We spoke about her work supporting kidney cancer patients.

How long have you been working with the KCA and what motivated you to get involved?

I have only been with the KCA since late summer of 2020. I was asked to join the Clinical Advisory Board to diversify the perspectives that had traditionally been only nurses. In my 40-year career as a Clinical Social Worker, I have worked with cancer patients exclusively only during the last 4 years. However, most of my career was spent in the ICU with various patients with problems that encompassed tragic accidents, strokes, and other illnesses that included cancer. I was motivated to join the KCA’s CAB because of my interest in the treatments now available to kidney cancer patients and the shift in focus from the short-term treatment options to the long view for many who will live with kidney cancer as a chronic illness. Bringing my understanding of the psychosocial and emotional aspects and challenges of the disease on patients and their families’ lives was my goal.

What inspired you to go into the medical field?

I became interested in social work in the medical field due to growing up with a mother who was a nurse and my love of science and its implications on our lives. The most meaningful part of my work is this: bad things like illness and injury will continue to happen globally, and I cannot stop those things from happening. But in my role as a Clinical Social Worker, with my skills and experience, I can help these experiences be less destructive and help people access their own strengths to cope with the crises presented in their lives. I also enjoy that each individual and family with their own personalities and histories make the work unique as people are more than a diagnosis. My teachers have been the people I have been privileged to help and work with.

Nantucket Island, Massachusetts
What is your favorite travel destination?

My favorite travel destination is Italy. My husband and I sailed on a small yacht with 45 people exploring Sicily and the Amalfi Coast, and it was heaven to us.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time, I read about travel, especially to Europe. I also have a secret obsession with Nantucket Island and hope to visit someday soon.

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