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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Michael Naughton, MD, discusses treatment options with a patient. Naughton is a medical oncologist with Cape Medical Oncology, a Saint Francis Healthcare System Medical Partner.

Dr. Michael Naughton brings 20 years of experience in breast cancer oncology to Saint Francis Healthcare System

Michael Naughton, MD, medical oncologist, wanted to join a high-quality, community-focused hospital that was poised for continued growth in the world of cancer. It was this desire that brought him to Saint Francis Healthcare System in Cape Girardeau. 

“I was excited to find a healthcare system like Saint Francis,” he says. 

After training at Washington University, Naughton spent a year practicing palliative medicine at Cleveland Clinic before finding his way back to Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. For 20 years, he practiced breast cancer and solid tumor oncology and performed clinical research in breast cancer before making the move to Saint Francis in November 2019.

“Dr. Naughton brings an expertise in breast cancer to this region that raises the bar. His clinical excellence paired with Saint Francis Healthcare System’s state-of-the-art technology and treatment options results in profound clinical quality, improved outcomes and increased survival rates,” says Lisa Newcomer, RRT, MBA, FACHE, service line director for oncology and pulmonology at Saint Francis. “Professionally, Dr. Naughton is a caring and very thoughtful physician, who always involves the patient in their plan of care instead of dictating the plan of care. The plan of care is then executed in a collaborative, effective and evidence-based manner.” 

Throughout the past 20 years, Naughton has spent time in Cape Girardeau for speaking events and other business-related endeavors. Through this, he says he got a sense for what Cape is like as a community with its downtown energy and “Mississippi River charm.” He also got to know the doctors who are now his colleagues. He was drawn to the development Saint Francis has undergone as a hospital and care provider for the community, specifically the investment in infrastructure for the Cancer Institute. This commitment to creating a high-quality cancer center and the potential for growth were the main factors in knowing Cape would be a good fit for him and his family, he says.

How does he hope to serve the community here in Southeast Missouri?

“I hope to help the Cancer Institute continue to develop, to provide Southeast Missouri — Cape specifically — the opportunity to have the highest quality care and continue to develop what we’re offering so patients can receive care locally and not have to travel,” he says.

The son of a doctor, the seriousness of cancer drew Naughton to pursue oncology. Conducting research at a cancer institute even during high school in his native Buffalo, New York, he says he wanted the challenge of working with people as they deal with the serious issue of cancer. 

His philosophy of medicine is to help patients achieve their goals with treatment.

"In the oncology world, our main goal is to try to help our patients achieve the goals they're looking for with the situations they encounter. Many people, fortunately, have an opportunity to have their disease cured. We want to help them to do that in the way that most fits with their goals and expectations," he says. "For patients who don't have a curative option, I see my role as a tool for our patients to navigate these situations."

Dr. Naughton looks over patient scans to assess the best treatment plan.

Through his decades of experience, Naughton has learned what it takes for a cancer center to achieve at high levels and how doctors can think about what they’re doing differently to take programs to the next level. 

“I have worked with Dr. Naughton on a consultative basis for the last 12 years,” says Carlos Robles, MD, medical oncologist at Cape Medical Oncology, a Saint Francis Medical Partner. “I have always been impressed by his bedside manner, strong work ethic and his knowledge in the field of oncology, but particularly in the field of breast cancer and genitourinary malignancies. I consider Dr. Naughton my friend and one of the top breast oncology experts in the nation.”

Naughton has done extensive research in clinical work, specifically in breast cancer. Through this research, he has assisted with many different clinical trials, from early- through late-stage development of drugs that are close to approval. He says he enjoys seeing the process through these trials and having the ability to offer patients not only what is currently the best, but also what may be the best tomorrow. At Saint Francis, Naughton hopes to continue expanding clinical trial participation so patients have access to the best treatment options. 

Naughton has six children ranging from college-age to the third grade who occupy most of his energy outside of work. Education and the development of young people are important to him, and he says he is excited about helping his children grow. Together, they enjoy participating in outdoor activities and eating at restaurants “with chicken and fries.” They are in good shape in that department here in Cape, he jokes. He looks forward to his children being active members of the Cape Girardeau community, too.

Naughton is excited about contributing his own expertise to the high-quality level of care and professionalism at Saint Francis Healthcare System.

“I'm extremely impressed with Saint Francis,” Naughton says. “I’m excited to build on what is already in place at the Cancer Institute and provide exceptional, patient-centered care.”