Behind the Stethoscope: David Shersher, MD

Behind the Stethoscope is a new series from the team at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper, introducing you to the men and women at your side in your fight against cancer.

David D. Shersher, MD
Division of Thoracic Surgery
MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper

What was your first job?

My first job was working for a local family computer business before the laptop era and just as AOL was becoming a household name. I remember building big desktop computers from bottom up using tiny little screws and piecing together the circuitry.

Tell us something about you that people wouldn’t expect.

I was born in Brooklyn, New York, but my first language was really Russian. I was actually in ESL (English as a second language) class in the New York public school system until grade 2. We moved to New Jersey where I learned how to speak English.

Where is your favorite vacation spot?

Paris – is there anything more romantic? The movies, songs, and novel depictions don’t really even do it justice. Paris is truly a city of love. But I also do love Santorini.

Tell us your favorite book, movie or song – and why.

I really can’t say I have a favorite in any of these categories – I but I’ll admit that I love Disney movies. I thought Frozen was my favorite, until my 2 1/2 year old daughter convinced me that Moana should be (by the way, she wants to be Maui for Halloween).

What inspired you to become a cancer specialist?

I tried to find a field where I can be involved in challenging clinical decisions that directly impact outcomes, by creating a treatment plan in a multidisciplinary environment, removing complex tumors in the operating room, and being part of the recovery and surveillance process with my patients and their families. For me, being a cancer specialist has its greatest highs and joys, especially when you can finally say “you are cancer free!”

What is your essential patient care philosophy?

I approach each patient human-first, disease process second. This means applying all of our capabilities to treat cancer in a way that honors and respects a patient’s feelings about quality of life and goals.

What do you hope your patients say about you to their family and friends?

Obviously as a surgeon I hope they recover faster than they expected and that they say that I was technically exceptional. But more importantly I hope they say that my team and I truly care about them and have been with them through the entire process.

What three words best describe you?

Dedicated; driven; humanistic.

Outside of your family and your work, what are your passions (pets, music, travel, history, etc.)?

International travel is something I am passionate about. I love to visit as many countries as possible, pick up a foreign language book and try to engage people in a culture different from mine. I also LOVE cuisine and my wife and I try to eat our way through every major city. Maybe we can sneak by a concert or play or two, which certainly Philadelphia has many of!

If you could have dinner with any three persons living or deceased, who would they be and why?

This is a hard one! Of course I would love to meet Moses – so many questions to ask him! But it would also be great to sit down with Beethoven or Grant Achatz and try to understand how they could make such art while losing their most important senses (hearing or taste, respectively). And finally I would love to meet real life Maui with my daughter, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson!


November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper is South Jersey’s premier facility for lung cancer detection and diagnosis. Patients can confidently rely on MD Anderson at Cooper for the most technologically advanced diagnostic procedures available. This is essential because a careful evaluation is critical in determining whether a malignancy is actually present and its stage of development. The pulmonary specialists at MD Anderson at Cooper use advanced diagnostic tools to detect abnormalities in the lung.  If lung cancer is diagnosed, treatment is based on the specific type of cancer (i.e., small cell versus non-small cell) and how advanced the disease is when detected. Learn more by clicking here.

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