By Stephanie Stahl

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VOORHEES, N.J. (CBS) – Cancer patients often deal with all kinds of pain, fear and anxiety. Going to countless doctors visits can be an ordeal, but a South Jersey oncologist has found a way to help his patients smile.

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It’s not your typical doctor’s visit. Dr. Howard Saul, a gynecological oncologist at Lourdes Medical Associates in Voorhees, does magic tricks in addition to taking care of women with cancer.

“Magic, it just changes everything,” Saul said.

Joanne Gallucci says she was devastated when she heard she had ovarian cancer.

The treatments were grueling and scary, but her appointments with Saul always came with a smile.

“It was a very trying time for me,” Gallucci said, “and I have to say, I felt very fortunate and lucky to have him.”

Saul, who’s also a skateboarder, says an important part of cancer treatment is the patients’ emotional attitude, finding the simple joys in life.

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He does this with magic.

(Credit: CBS3)

“It becomes a more positive healing experience than a negative, scary experience,” Saul said. “It has that ability to help people heal.”

Saul keeps the cards handy and somehow, all four piles always end up with aces on top.

“We want to create wonder and amazement,” Saul said. “It’s a trick. I call them tricks and I say this is to activate your imagination because your imagination can take you anywhere.”

While he can’t make cancer disappear with his magic, it does help give his patients something to smile about.

“Keeping your spirits up takes you through that hard tie,” Gallucci said.

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Saul also volunteers for hospice communities. He said the magic started with his son, who’s not a professional magician.

Stephanie Stahl