1. Brophy Marcus, Mary

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If he tells you the location of his secret fishing spot, he'll have to kill you, jokes Noah Federman, MD, Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Orthopaedics and Director of the Pediatric Bone and Soft Tissue Sarcoma Program at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, part of the UCLA Sarcoma Program and UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Figure. Federman sur... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. Federman surfing; and with his five-year-old daughter Emme at his "secret" fishing spot in the Sea of Cortez, East Cape of Baja California Sur. He notes that when he surfed at CloudBreak in Fiji: "I almost died there two years ago after being held under water for what seemed like an eternity by a wave that was double overhead and way over my pay grade."

"It's basically at the end of the world-in the middle of nowhere," Federman says, describing a journey he and his father make annually that involves a plane ride to Mexico and an hours-long jeep ride through mountains and along unpaved roads that ends in paradise.


"You get to the end of this road and you think you're there and then you take another dirt road to the beach and you come out all of a sudden and there's the sea, clear and beautiful, like a lake. It's God's country."


This year's trip is special, he says, because he's celebrating his 40th birthday and his father, who taught him how to fish, is celebrating his 70th. His wife and two young daughters will be joining them, too. The family stays in a house on the beach and the days are spent fishing, swimming, and soaking in the beauty. "The beach and the sea are our playground," he says.


While Federman sticks to fishing from shore with his six- and three-year-old, he and his dad paddle a kayak into deeper waters when they fish.

Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.

"A quarter mile from shore there's a drop-off and the water goes from 50 to 1,000 feet. There are schools of tuna swimming under you. Last year I caught a 30-pound 'Dorado' from the kayak," says Federman. Two years ago, they accidentally hooked a huge squid the size of their kayak that sprayed them with ink when they tried to pull it into the boat.


A lifelong athlete who also helps run UCLA's Teen Adventure Program which gives teen patients adventurous challenges to help build their self-esteem and confidence, Federman says that taking time off a few times a year and unplugging, connecting with nature, and spending time with family and friends is a necessity in his line of work.


"There's no wifi there, no nothing. For me, it's just a healthy way of detaching from a 24/7 pretty sick clinical practice and I need that. It's the only way I recharge. I come home and I just feel great."


Federman also looks forward to a surfing trip to Fiji in October with friends and fellow physicians Keith Blackwell, MD, Professor of Head and Neck Surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and Doug Sidell, MD, Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery at the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, at Stanford.


#1 in a Series

This is the first in a series of profiles of oncologists discussing unwinding during the summer months. From traveling to music festivals and hidden oases to growing organic gardens and cycling to raise research funds, the profiles show the rich and diverse interests and unique experiences that cancer experts have beyond their clinic and lab doors.


Check out the entire series:


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