Top Doctors 2008: Family Medicine with Colette Magnant

Photograph by Matthew Worden.
Photograph by Matthew Worden.

This doctor's profile is from the April 2008 Washingtonian Top Doctors issue. To access the full Top Doctors database, click here

Five of the children in Colette Magnant’s family are doctors, one’s a nurse, and one who couldn’t stand the sight of blood is a lawyer. Their father, a pediatrician in Northern Virginia for decades, loved his work. “I think he always thought we’d have a family clinic,” Magnant says. “But you know how siblings are—we argue too much.”

At Georgetown University Hospital in the 1980s, Magnant was the only female breast-cancer surgeon. Women flocked to her. One group of patients—judges who are friends off the bench—dubbed her “the cheerleader” because of the optimism she inspires. “With breast cancer, you take so many hits psychologically,” Magnant says. “I think it helps to have someone with an upbeat personality.”

Magnant has pioneered treatments such as a biopsy in which individual cancerous lymph nodes are extracted, sparing women the severe swelling that often accompanies removing them all.

Though breast cancer has become more of a chronic illness than a killer, Magnant says her goals haven’t changed: “I’m still trying to make women look as good as possible while giving them the best treatment possible.”

See a profile of pain-management specialist Lee Ann Rhodes here.

See a profile of neurology specialist Kalpana Hari Hall here.

See a profile of orthopedist Philip Bobrow here


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