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Alumna Spotlight

Carol Turner, M.D. ‘86 

Cured of two rare cancers, Dr. Carol Turner reflects on her patient journey and Baylor student days

Baylor College of Medicine alumna Carol Turner, M.D. ’86, had a very active and healthy lifestyle before she was diagnosed with two of the rarest forms of bone marrow cancer, Myelodysplastic Syndrome and Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia, in 2018.  

During her battle with cancer, Dr. Turner used her knowledge and experience as a physician, along with support from family and friends, to advocate for herself and fight for her health. In 2020, Dr. Turner’s sister donated stem cells for a stem cell transplant that cured her of both cancers.  

“The stem cell transplant was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but ultimately, it saved my life,” Dr. Turner said.   

Today, she owns a pediatric primary care practice in rural Colorado, where she has worked for the last 20 years of her career. Dr. Turner credits much of her success in the primary care and academic fields with the education and mentorship she received as a medical student at Baylor.  

“The clinical experience I gained at Baylor is second to none,” she said. “As a physician today, I still think back to the things I learned in school and about how Baylor has opened so many doors for me throughout my career.” 

As a Baylor student, Dr. Turner will never forget a patient encounter that helped shape her career during a clinical rotation at Ben Taub Hospital. The patient was a 5-year-old girl who had been diagnosed with leukemia, another type of bone marrow cancer. Due to the patient’s poor prognosis, she was transferred to Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center, where Baylor faculty, who are also physicians at Texas Children’s Hospital, were able to save her life. 

“That was the moment when I made the decision to work in pediatrics,” Dr. Turner said. “Everything comes full circle because I know that my experience as a patient with bone marrow cancer has made me a better doctor for my patients here in Colorado.”  

To learn more about Dr. Turner’s life and her experience with cancer, read her book “Waldy, Myelo, & Me.”