Zuri A. Murrell, MD, colorectal surgeon at the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, is on a mission to prevent colorectal cancer — the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. When he’s not in the operating room, Dr. Murrell visits churches, health fairs and community centers throughout the Los Angeles area to provide free health education on nutrition and advocate for regular colonoscopies.
Cedars-Sinai is one of the largest nonprofit academic medical centers in the U.S. with 886 licensed beds, 2,100 physicians, 3,000 nurses and thousands of other healthcare professionals and staff. Clinical programs range from primary care for preventing, diagnosing and treating common conditions to specialized treatments for rare, complex and advanced illnesses.
Explore our stories to learn how we bring something unique to treating cancer.
Meet the cancer experts:
Arash Asher, MD
Director, Cancer Rehabilitation and Survivorship
Shrinking tumors and harnessing rogue cells is just a part of cancer care — the part that heals the body. Arash Asher, MD, is here to support in healing your life after cancer.
“My calling wasn’t to determine what stage of cancer patients had or to find the right treatment drugs,” Asher says. “I wanted to focus on putting their lives back together.”
Asher is director of Cancer Rehabilitation and Survivorship — which tackles the parts of cancer that can’t be treated with radiation, chemotherapy or surgery. He helps patients handle the roller coaster of emotions, tap into spiritual care that’s personal to their journey, face fears and make plans for life as cancer survivors. Asher and his team use several tools: art, exercise, poetry — even improv comedy classes.
Asher’s goal is to develop programs to cultivate resiliency and support people in rebuilding their lives.
“No one chooses cancer,” he says. “But cancer cannot take away your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.”
The uncertainties facing everyone dealing with cancer — patients and their loved ones — are profound. Asher wants to make sure that you’re never facing those uncertainties alone.
Secela McKinney-Evans, RN
Infusion Center Nurse
Cancer treatment can feel like navigating a sea of appointments, questions, treatments and emotions.
“I am your compass,” Secela McKinney-Evans, RN, tells her patients. “Just keep your eyes on me.”
She’s an infusion center nurse at the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute. She’s also a guiding star to her patients, quick with a smile, answers and much-needed advice. She’s motivated by a simple personal credo: “I am my brother’s keeper.”
When she’s tending to patients in the infusion center, she finds comfort in the details, and those are different for each person. For one of her patients, she makes sure he has the gum he likes to chew during his treatments. Another patient gets through her infusions by remembering that every treatment is a step closer to being in the room when her first grandchild is born.
The hardest part of her job is also the most rewarding: The chance to support a family through its most challenging moments.
“Focus on one day at a time,” McKinney-Evans says. “There is life after chemotherapy.”
And she’s there to help you chart your path to healing and recovery.