Surrounded by worried family members and loved ones, grief, happiness and success, Dr. Rola Amarin is one of King Hussein Cancer Center’s first oncologists. In 2007, Amarin started her mission of treating Jordanian cancer patients; now, 14 years later, she has shared her experience working in the field.

Dr. Amarin disclosed that studying medicine has always been her lifelong dream, yet she only decided to specialize in oncology after a friend suggested the profession. Oncology, she said, is a demanding occupation, as it does not have set hours. Although the center states that Amarin’s work hours are from eight to five, because her patients’ health fluctuates constantly, she can be called in hours before or after these times.

“That’s what I tell everyone to live life in the moment and enjoy every second,” Amarin said about how oncology shifted her world outlook. She added, “the quality of someone’s life is what’s important, not how many years they live.”

Oncology, nonetheless, changed more than Dr. Amarin’s mentality. In regard to the mental challenges this type of work poses, Dr. Amarin explained that seeing her patients’ health improve and hearing words of support and encouragement from her patients’ family members motivate her to want to go to work in the morning. “They often wish me good wishes and thank me for my work and support,” she said. “These words of encouragement really mean the world to me.”

Moreover, Dr. Amarin’s care for her patients’ health does not end outside the hospital’s door. When asked if there is one story of a patient she will never forget, she spoke of an Iraqi patient who used to travel to visit family in Iraq on the weekend and would come back to Jordan on the weekdays to complete his treatment. One weekend, however, his symptoms unexpectedly flared up leading him to rush to an Iraqi hospital where the doctors did not know his treatment plan. Fortunately, Amarin sent the doctors in Iraq his treatment plan and described to them what to do in detail. Her patient made it through. Dr. Amarin said that “he now only trusts me with his health, even for minor processes such as taking the vaccine. He will always consult me first.”

“You have to be compassionate yet truthful,” Dr. Amarin explained, “because by not doing so, patients can lose their confidence and trust in you”. Moreover, Dr. Amarin stressed the importance of maintaining connections with her patients, including those facing advanced stages of cancer, as her fear of losing them should not affect her work attitude and ethic. 

“They need all the emotional support they can receive,” she explained. “I always insist to other doctors and nurses on the importance of acting affectionately towards the patients and giving them items they love.” “This”, she continued, “will make the patient’s last days happier, as they would leave knowing they were loved and appreciated.”

Furthermore, Dr. Amarin’s many encounters with her patients gave her a new appreciation for human health. To better upkeep a person’s health, Dr. Amarin urges everyone to maintain a healthy diet and avoid substances known to harm the human body. This is especially important in Jordan, where over 40% of the population are smokers. Smoking, especially at a young age, can increase a person’s risk of developing lung diseases and, in more severe cases, lung cancer. Dr. Amarin explained that people must prioritize taking care of their bodies because a healthy body is less likely to grow cancer and more likely to fight the side effects of chemotherapy.

“Life often offers people great opportunities that they must seize,” Dr. Amarin concluded. “A person never knows when their health may be taken away from them, and therefore, people must cherish every moment.”