Medical Memoirs: Finding the right track in the medical field

Frances Martin, MD is a urological oncologist with the Lakeland Regional Cancer Center. A graduate of the University of Alabama, she completed her Urological Surgery residency at the University of Kentucky, Chandler Medical Center in Lexington.  After her residency, she completed a fellowship and was a clinical specialist in the Department of Urologic Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas. If you ask her why she chose this specialty, she’ll tell you, “Urology chose me.”

Although Dr. Martin always had a deep interest in medicine and specifically oncology, she originally graduated with honors from Vanderbilt University with a B.S. in Biology and English and a M.S. degree in biochemistry. She had reluctantly abandoned the idea of pursuing medicine at the suggestion of her father. She says he was concerned about the amount of time that physicians worked and knew what a difficult life it could be with extremely long hours.

Working in the field of biology, Dr. Martin taught an undergraduate class and conducted research. After working seven years in research, Dr. Martin found herself uninspired with her profession. She decided to return to school and pursue what she felt called to do. She learned about urology during her first year in residency; it was at the beginning of her intern year while she and her fellow students rotated through various sub-specialties. She was introduced to urology during the rotation and saw that it was a complex surgical specialty, with oncology aspects.

Dr. Martin also liked that urology dealt with reconstructive surgery. She says, “With this kind of surgery you do a lot of deconstruction. I liked the opportunity of being involved with the reconstruction aspect as well.”

During the last part of her intern year she was approached about joining the Urological Surgery residency program at the University of Kentucky. She called her dad, a vascular surgeon in the Biloxi, Ocean Springs, Mississippi area. He unequivocally told her to go for it. Dr. Martin was named the Bobby C. Powell Intern of the Year during her General Surgery internship at the University of Kentucky.  She also received the Medical Student Enrichment Program Travel Award for training in Russia while at UAB.  In addition, Dr. Martin completed multiple research projects in areas of urologic oncology, urologic stone disease, and gynecology among others. 

Years later while attending a national meeting in Houston, Dr. Martin met Mark Bandyk, MD, a fellowship trained urologic oncologist. Dr. Bandyk suggested Dr. Martin consider Florida and the Lakeland Regional Cancer Center as a career possibility. “I was not familiar with Florida at all,” says Dr. Martin. “But it presented a tremendous opportunity. The man I was dating at the time was a Tampa native and encouraged me to really consider it. So I did, and I married the man and we’ve been here three years.”

Lakeland Regional Cancer Center offers the largest group of fellowship trained urological oncologists in Florida. Dr. Martin speaks very highly of her medical colleagues. “The camaraderie between the partners is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. The physicians are very supportive of each other and care for one another’s patients as if they were their own patients,” she explains. “I work with very well-trained partners. There is an incredible amount of trust and respect among us, which results in exceptional care for patients and a collegial work environment for physicians.”

Dr. Martin specializes in minimally invasive procedures, both laparoscopic and robotic, including partial nephrectomies, radical nephrectomies, and radical prostatectomies.  She has a primary interest in localized and advanced bladder cancer. Dr. Martin is a member of the medical honor society of Alpha Omega Alpha, The American Medical Association, and The Society for Urologic Oncology.  She has written numerous publications and is involved with many civic organizations, which includes serving on the executive committee of the Polk County Medical Association.




Accessibility Toolbar