Dr. Kris Gast, Radiation Oncologist, recently celebrated her 15th year anniversary in the River Valley with Fort Smith Radiation Oncology. “It’s hard to believe when my children and I first moved here Josh was in the first grade and Hannah was just two. I had moved around a tremendous amount as a child and made a commitment to my kids that we wouldn’t move. Other doctors have come and gone in those fifteen years but I have been fortunate to stay here in Fort Smith, keeping my promise to my children. The River Valley has become their home” said Dr. Gast.
Over the years Dr. Gast has been asked by patients and even other doctors, “How do you deal with cancer patients every day? Where do you find the strength?” Dr. Gast’s passion for oncology actually stems from the cancer patients themselves. “Having cancer is a humbling experience and I have always admired the way cancer patients can pull themselves together and step up to fight”. Dr. Gast says, “I am always honored when a patient chooses me to be a part of their fight”
Being a fighter is not new to Dr. Gast. For the past eleven years she has trained in the martial arts, holding a black belt in Karate. Alongside her long time instructor, Mr. Elton Hawkins, she is tries to help others, especially children, by teaching self defense classes.
Dr. Gast has never turned a student away. Anyone who is interested in the medical field is always welcome to job shadow. This past semester, two UAFS students completed an internship at Fort Smith Radiation Oncology where they were exposed to all aspects of being a physician. For the last decade Dr. Gast has provided two scholarships to area seniors interested in science and medicine which has now reached nearly $50,000.”The kids are our future. It’s not only important to take care and nurture them, it is imperative” says Dr. Gast.
Another passion of Dr. Gast’s is art. She has always been an artist, drawing and painting ever since she was a child. Radiation Oncology is actually a very artistic field; designing fields, customizing plans, and contouring structures all require a fairly decent level of artistic ability. “Radiation Oncology is not just a job for me, it really is a calling. I am able to use my compassion for my patients, my fighter instincts, my artistic skills and my expertise in cancer care” said Dr. Gast.
“Looking back at the last 15 years in the River Valley, it has truly become the first place I have ever called home. I plan to continue the work I have started, giving back 110% to the community. The people and community have made such a difference in the lives of my family, they have given us so much for which to be thankful”.
Dr. Kris L. Gast graduated cum Laude with Departmental Honors in 1984 from UCLA. She received her M.D. from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in May of 1990 and completed an Internal Medicine Internship at the University of Missouri at Kansas City in 1990 and her Radiation Oncology Residency at the University of Kansas Medical Center from 1991-1994. She is Board Certified by the American Board of Radiology. She has been licensed by the State of Arkansas since moving to Arkansas in 1997 from Wisconsin. She was previously licensed in Wisconsin and Kansas while residing in those states.
Dr. Gast is the only female radiation oncologist in the 17 county western Arkansas eastern Oklahoma region. She opened a successful, independent radiation oncology practice in August of 1998. She developed and implemented the first prostate seed implantation program in the area and has performed over 160 implants to date. Dr. Gast was also the first in our area to use the 3D conformal computer in treatment planning.
You can email Dr. Gast your questions about cancer to:firstname.lastname@example.org