PNA Spotlight: Dr. Simon Hanft

Dr. Simon HanftThis month the PNA Spotlight shines on Simon Hanft, MD, the Surgical Director of the Pituitary Tumor Program and Director of Spinal Oncology at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. He also serves as an Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Dr. Hanft did his undergraduate work at Yale, pursued a Masters from the University of Cambridge in England, and a medical degree from Stanford University. He did his residency at Columbia University with a focus on brain and spine tumors, then moved on to a fellowship in surgical neuro-oncology at the University of Miami. Dr. Hanft answered a few questions from the PNA. His answers are below:

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Pituitary Story: Cop, Mother, Pituitary Patient

Michael Johnson3-year-old Michael Johnson is about to become a big brother. But that might never have happened. In fact, he might never have happened – if his mom hadn’t sought out the help of an expert pituitary surgeon.

Michael’s mom is 37-year-old Lakisha Jones Johnson, a no-nonsense beat cop from from Haledon, New Jersey with the Passaic County Sheriff's Department. In 2012, still single and child-free, she went to the gynecologist for a routine screening when the doctor asked how long her breast had been discharging milk. Lakisha said it had been happening for 2 or 3 years but she didn’t think anything of it. She had googled it and read that some people just lactate for no reason, that it can be harmless. But now, looking back, she realizes that she had other symptoms. She often lacked energy and focus, had missed some periods and suffered from headaches.

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Florida Bikini Model Battles Back From Cushing’s

An article in the Mirror details one Florida woman’s pituitary journey. Vicki, Perez, a former bikini model and fitness enthusiast, gained 42 pounds in a year and struggled even longer to get a diagnosis. Two surgeries later she is on the mend, taking care of her young son and studying to be a dental hygienist. Read more here.

Vicki Perez 1Vicki Perez 2


Photo credits: Cater News Agency


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