Behind the Stethoscope: Nadir Ahmad, MD, FACS

Behind the Stethoscope is a 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.

Nadir Ahmad, MD, FACSNadir Ahmad, MD, FACS
Director, Head and Neck Cancer Program at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper

What was your first job?

My first job was doing a newspaper route in my neighborhood when I was 13 years old. It takes a lot of coordination to throw a newspaper directly at the front door of a house while driving fast on a bicycle!

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

I can juggle a soccer ball about 1000 times in a row! I used to play college soccer (McGill University in Montreal. Canada) and am a complete soccer junkie.

Where is your favorite vacation spot?

I have traveled extensively throughout the world, and my favorite destinations are Istanbul, Turkey; Karachi, Pakistan; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Koh Samui, Thailand.

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

My favorite book is the Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas. My favorite movies are Shawshank Redemption, Godfather I & II, Blade Runner, Highlander, Flash Gordon, Lord of the Rings Triology, Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, and the Star Wars series

What inspired you to become a cancer specialist?

Rather who inspired me; my father is a head and neck surgeon who inspired me to become a surgeon and my mother passed away from stomach cancer when I was only 14 years old, and she was my inspiration to become a cancer specialist surgeon.

What is your essential patient care philosophy?

My philosophy is to treat all my patients like they are my dearest family members, and to give them the best possible care to cure their cancer.

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

That they couldn’t have been blessed with a more caring, knowledgeable and highly regarded cancer surgeon specialist to treat their cancer.

What three words best describe you?

Happy, generous and fun.

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

Watching and playing sports, reading books, traveling the world and buying and collecting trinkets.

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

Nelson Mandela – because I think he was the most remarkable and transformational leader in modern times,

Roger Federer – because he epitomizes greatness, effortless grace, majesty, and excellence in a particular sport, and has gone beyond this to become an outstanding philanthropist, as well as an inspiration to so many people around the world.

Theodor Billroth – because as one of the greatest surgeons to have ever lived, he performed astonishing surgical procedures and feats in the late 19th century, when the techniques we take for granted today (anesthesia, hemostasis, infection control, wound care, postop care) were not either invented yet or were not properly developed yet.


The Head and Neck Cancer Center at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper is dedicated to offering comprehensive and customized care for people with tumors of the head and neck. We use a collaborative approach that draws on our cancer experts’ skill, advanced technology, and research-backed science to provide you with the best possible treatment. To learn more or to make an appointment, click here.

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