Kelly Olino, MD, is a surgical oncologist with additional training in cancer immunotherapy. She treats skin cancer in patients who range from teenagers to people in their 90s. “I see a wide variety of people, because skin cancer affects everybody, unfortunately,” she says.
As a surgeon, Dr. Olino cares for patients in the office and in the operating room, removing skin and soft tissue tumors that occur anywhere on the body, and performing minimally invasive surgeries to treat metastatic skin cancer when it spreads to internal organs. “When I am treating a patient with skin cancer, I think not only about the technical expertise required to perform a given surgery, but more importantly how the surgery fits into the scope of a larger plan for that patient,” says Dr. Olino, who has additional training in immunotherapy, which she describes as a “revolutionary” step in the treatment of skin cancer. Skin cancer specialists were among the first doctors to successfully use immunotherapy, which harnesses the body’s own immune system to target cancer.
Dr. Olino decided to become a surgical oncologist partly because the patients she met as a trainee were so appreciative. She, in turn, has always taken the time to make sure each patient fully understands his or her condition and treatment. “Patients should know what's going on. Their families should know. I joke with them all the time. I say to them, "You know, I'm bilingual. I speak “Doctor” and I speak English, so please let me know if I start to speak “Doctor,” because if you don’t understand what I’m doing and why, it's time for me to explain it again.”
As an assistant professor of surgery at Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Olino focuses her research on immunotherapy for skin cancer. She is currently part of a team that is looking at novel ways to combine different types of immunotherapies and move those therapies from the laboratory to patient care clinics.
Years In Practice
Smilow Cancer Hospital, Yale Medicine