2020 Council Election: Meet the Candidates

The online election is being managed by Simply Voting. IGCS Members with voting rights will receive a link to the online ballot from the email address, vote@simplyvoting.com starting on Sunday, April 5th and will receive weekly reminders to vote through May 5, 2020.

A link to the online ballot will also be posted here when the election opens on April 5th. Until then, please get to know the candidates and read their personal statements below.

President Elect

For the year 2020, the position of President Elect must be filled by a member residing in Asia or Oceania.
Prof. Keiichi Fujiwara was elected by nomination. Congratulations, Keiichi!

Keiichi Fujiwara, MD, PhD
Professor and Director, Dept. of Gynecologic Oncology
Saitama Medical University Int’l Medical Center
Japan

Specialty: Gynecologic Oncology

Read Keiichi's Election Profile

IGCS Activities:

  • IGCS Biennial Meeting Scientific Program Committee Co-Chair (Kyoto 2018)
  • IGCS Secretary-Treasurer (2012-2014)
  • IGCS Secretary-Treasurer Elect (2010-2012)
  • Senior Editor of the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer (2008-2013)
  • IGCS Finance Committee Member (2005-2007)

Personal Statement:

It is my great honor to have the opportunity to be a candidate for President-Elect position of IGCS.

I have been a member of IGCS since 1995, was a member of the Finance Committee from 2005 to 2007 and Secretary Treasurer of the Society from 2012 to 2014.  I have also served as a Senior Editor of the International Journal of Gynecologic Cancer from 2008 to 2013. The biggest opportunity for me so far to contribute to the Society was at the IGCS Annual Meeting held in Kyoto, Japan, 2018 as Scientific Co-Chair. During my career and with that experience, I have witnessed the impressive growth of IGCS and have also learned that IGCS is the number one society to connect the gynecologic cancer communities on a global scale.

My career as a gynecologic oncologist started by learning the importance of evidence-based medicine and then it advanced to learning evidence generating processes, especially in the planning and conducting of clinical trials. This process is important not only to establish the evidence for future patient care but also to improve the quality of daily practice. Building clinical trial infrastructure requires multidisciplinary collaboration with nurses and other co-medical staff to support and protect our patients. I strongly believe this experience has given me the opportunity to lead multidisciplinary committees such as those within the IGCS whose membership is diverse.

To achieve this purpose, I would like to propose that the IGCS enhances further collaboration with nursing and other healthcare professionals and more importantly with our patients, both of which the Society has recently started.

After almost two decades of learning about and being actively involved in clinical trials, I have recently had the opportunity to serve as Chair of the Gynecologic Cancer Intergroup, GCIG, which is the global network of clinical trial groups worldwide (October 2018 until October 2020). 

In the past, evidence generation has been performed mainly in developed countries where resources and the infrastructure support of clinical trials are well established. It is now necessary to ensure that clinical trial expertise is disseminated to other part of the globe to fit the evidences in those areas by considering the uniqueness and differences in ethnical and cultural backgrounds. 

The training of clinical trial specialists is the role of the clinical trial group. In contrast, the role of the IGCS is to spread the importance of clinical trials, encourage researchers who want to go down that path, and appeal to hospital managers and government officials about the importance of building infrastructure to support clinical trials. A strong partnership between IGCS and GCIG and particularly CCRN will ensure that women in low- and middle-income countries will receive all the benefits that an active clinical trial program produces.

During my experience working with a number of world-class leaders in the gynecologic oncology community, I have learned the importance of synergies generated by working together in a collegial and respectful fashion. As President of IGCS I would hope the international community of caregivers in women’s health will grow more closely together and that our patients will have improved outcomes as a result. It is my great honor to be considered for this position.

Candidates for Vice President

Michael Birrer, MD, PhD
Director, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
United States

Specialty: Medical Oncology & Translational Research

Read Michael's Election Profile

IGCS Activities:

  • Consistent reviewer for the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer
  • IGCS Biennial Meeting Scientific Program Committee Member (Bangkok 2008)
  • Invited Speaker, IGCS Annual Global Meeting (Rio de Janiero 2019)

Personal Statement:

I have dedicated my professional life to the diagnosis and treatment of women with gynecologic cancers. Caring for woman suffering from these diseases has been a great satisfaction for me.  In addition, this effort has included running a fully funded genomics laboratory along with a consistent focus on translating these results into the design and activation of “cutting edge” clinical trials.  Many of these projects involve large consortiums of national and international collaborators unified by a mutual interest in understanding the molecular underpinnings of gynecologic cancers and ultimately helping women with these diseases.

My administrative experience includes a broad and deep experience in participating in and leading many national and international committees and organizations focused on gynecologic cancers. This includes the Gynecologic Cancer Intergroup Committee, Society of Gynecologic Oncology, Cancer Research UK, Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program, and American Society of Clinical Oncology to name a few. These experiences mean that I have worked with many of the investigators in the field and they are familiar with my abilities and style. My leadership style is best described as inclusive, collaborative and supportive. It is critical that the best and innovative researchers are always given a chance to participate and that we encourage and support our young investigators. 

It would be a great honor for me to serve on one of the premier professional organization focused upon gynecologic cancer patients. I would hope to help spread IGCS’s message and expand its mission particularly to underserved populations throughout the world. My background as both a medical oncologist and translational researcher would help bring a different viewpoint and novel approach to the leadership of the group. A strong effort to engage and encourage laboratory based researchers would be very important for IGCS. In many ways, the future of the field is dependent upon translation laboratory research into novel drug discoveries. These are two areas that I have extensive experience in and I would be delighted to promote within the organization.

Jae-Weon Kim, MD, PhD
Professor and Director, Gynecologic Oncology Center
Seoul National University
Republic of Korea

Specialty: Gynecologic Oncology

Read Jae-Weon's Election Profile

IGCS Activities:

  • Member of the Scientific Program Committee at 16th and 18th IGCS Meetings (Lisbon 2016; Rome 2020)
  • Senior Editor, International Journal of Gynecological Cancer (2008-2018)
  • Attended and presented at 6th, 10th, 11th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th IGCS Biennial Meetings

Personal Statement:

As a devoted member of the IGCS for the last 23 years, I would be honored to be elected as Vice President to assist in the further development of the organization. Since the 6th IGCS meeting held in Fukuoka in 1997, I have served as not only a member of the scientific program committee but also as a Senior Editor for the IJGC from 2008 to 2018. I have been proactively involved with the Gynecologic Cancer InterGroup (GCIG) as a representative of the Korean group since 2004. In addition, I have been served for more than 10 years to the Asian SGO as a Council member, Treasurer, and Editor-in-Chief of the ‘Journal of Gynecologic Oncology’ and am currently active as President-Elect.

During my career, I have come to realize that there are plenty of unrevealed and unmet needs in the gynecologic field, especially in underdeveloped countries. Considering the variety of needs and available resources in different areas, as well as the diversity of each social and clinical environment, we need to develop more refined localized approaches to help out our colleagues and women suffering from gynecologic cancers. With international collaboration and communication with mutual respect between members of the IGCS, we can make a significant change and I would like to serve as a bridge between IGCS and several regional societies to make this possible.

I would also like to contribute in the enhancement and optimization of international collaboration for clinical studies among members of the IGCS. To achieve scientific excellence, frontier researches should be promoted and the exchange of knowledge between multidisciplinary researchers worldwide should be facilitated in an efficient and enjoyable way. This should especially be possible in young gynecologic oncologists, especially those studying in developing areas. I would like to create more innovative approaches for these young researchers by expanding overseas training opportunities and scholarships, which are supported by the IGCS and other donors.

If I were elected as Vice President of the IGCS, I would do my best to support the activities of the President and Council members and would definitely spend my time and energy to serve the Members and Society, and keep achieving the IGCS mission worldwide.

R. Wendel Naumann, MD
Professor and Director of Research in Gynecologic Oncology, Associate Medical Director of Clinical Trials
Levine Cancer Institute, Atrium Health, Charlotte, NC
United States

Specialty: Gynecologic Oncology

Read Wendel's Election Profile

IGCS Activities:

  • IGCS Annual Global Meeting Scientific Program Committee Member (Rome 2020)
  • Organizer and Moderator of the IGCS LiveStream Gynecologic Cancer Update (2019)
  • Project ECHO® Virtual Tumor Board Contributor (2018-Present)
  • IGCS Biennial Meeting Scientific Program Committee Member (Vancouver 2012)

Personal Statement:

The IGCS is now the primary organization for education in gynecologic oncology worldwide.  I have a long commitment to educational leadership in the care of women with gynecologic malignancies and want to continue my service within the IGCS. 

I have served on the clinical practice committee for the SGO and later the education committee, ultimately becoming the chair of the education committee. I have served on the executive board for the SGO as well as the program committee for SGO and IGCS five times. In addition, I have organized multiple meetings including serving as the co-director of the SGO winter meeting for the past five years.   Last year I organized a LiveStream meeting for the IGCS that was broadcast to over 300 people in 88 countries. The LiveStream effort is ongoing, and we are excited about our current project which will be a joint surgical symposium and film festival in conjunction with AAGL for this spring.  I have also been involved with international outreach as part of a joint NCI/IGCS education mission to improve screening for cervical cancer in Belarus and Kazakhstan and have hosted two international fellows at our institution.

My involvement has made me realize that that efforts in education within the IGCS can have a major impact on the care of women with gynecologic malignancies throughout the world and this continues to fuel my passion for these educational efforts.  As the IGCS continues to grow and expand, we will have a greater opportunity to reach more members to positively impact the care of women with gynecologic malignancies. I am committed to finding new ways to educate and allow our members to interact and learn from each other. My hope is that we can expand education on palliative care as major effort to relieve suffering, improve access to genetic testing, as well as continue to update our membership on the latest developments in cancer, even if our members cannot attend the annual meeting.  To do this we will need to find better ways to communicate and educate our constituents. 

In addition, I would like to develop case-based learning curriculum for both common and rare gynecologic malignancies and continue to expand opportunities for surgical training and mentorship.  It is clear to me that IGCS is in the position to have a major impact on global care of women with gynecologic malignancies and complex gynecologic surgical problems and I very much want to be a part of the leadership of this organization.

Candidates for Secretary-Treasurer Elect

Vivek Arora, MD
Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist
Prince of Wales Private Hospital, Sydney
Australia

Specialty: Gynecologic Oncology

Read Vivek's Election Profile

IGCS Activities:

  • IGCS Council Member Representing Asia/Oceania (2016-2020)
  • International Mentor, IGCS Gynecologic Oncology Global Curriculum & Mentorship Program for Hamad Medical Corporation Women’s Hospital, Qatar (2019-Present)
  • IGCS Global Network (Online Member Community) Moderator (2018-2019)
  • IGCS Mentorship & Training Committee Member (2018-Present)
  • IGCS Visiting Scholar & Mentorship Program Chair (2018-Present)
  • Project ECHO® Virtual Tumor Board Contributor (2018-Present)
  • Organizer of IGCS & ASGO Visiting Scholars Program for the 2014 IGCS Biennial Meeting in Melbourne
  • Panelist, “Training and Career Development in Gynecologic Oncology” at the inaugural Shingo Fujii Young Doctors Summit at the 2012 IGCS Biennial Meeting in Vancouver

Personal Statement:

As a gynaecological oncologist who has trained and worked across 3 continents, I have been privileged to witness how the specialty has grown over the last 2 decades. I have also witnessed, from close quarters, the disparity that still exists in different parts of the world. Advances in treatment options for gynaecological cancer benefit a lot of women, but also further highlight these disparities.

As a Council Member of the IGCS over the last 4 years, my focus has been to further the goals of IGCS in international collaboration, mentorship and support to the centers with limited resources or those with newly established gynaecological oncology programs. As a member of the IGCS Mentorship and Training Committee I have been involved with the Project ECHO outreach multi-disciplinary team meetings in gynaecological oncology and chairing the Visiting Scholar and Mentorship Program.

I feel that there is more that I can contribute to the Society and our common goals. During my term as a Council Member I have been fortunate to be a part of the tremendous growth in the Society, in membership numbers and its global presence. I seek your support for the position of Secretary-Treasurer Elect because I believe that I will be in a position to complement the efforts of the incoming IGCS Council. I have the organizational skills and the attention to detail that is required for this important role in the Society.

Hennie Botha, MBChB, MMed, FCOG, PhD
Associate Professor
Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital
South Africa

Specialty: Gynecologic Oncology

Read Hennie's Election Profile

IGCS Activities:

  • IGCS Council Member Representing Africa/Europe/Middle East (2014-2018)
  • IGCS Regional Meeting Organizing Committee Chair (Cape Town 2014)
  • IGCS Global Curriculum & Mentorship Program Exam Committee Member (2018-Present)
  • IGCS Scientific Publications Committee (2018-Present)

Personal Statement:

The IGCS strives to unite the global community in eliminating the suffering caused by gynaecological cancers. I firmly believe international collaboration leads to the exchange and improvement of knowledge and skills, creates space for collegial support, and generates energy for progress.

I have worked in low-, middle-, and high-income countries and appreciate the challenges and opportunities of each environment. I believe people, with their attitudes and skills, are more important to success than highly advanced facilities or medicines. The IGCS is an ideal vehicle to promote linkage and solidarity amongst all of us working with people affected by cancer.

I have been a member of the IGCS for almost 20 years. My experience on the council from 2014 to 2018 and committees of the Society helps me to understand the complexity and excitement of international communication and collaboration.

The dynamic focus on education and internationalisation over the last few years created a rapid expansion of programs which calls for steady financial management. The leadership of the IGCS must ensure careful stewardship of the resources available without limiting the development agenda. There needs to be a balance between financial prudence and spending responsibly for future growth and development.

I am committed to the healthy future of the IGCS and all its members.

Rainer Kimmig, MD
Full Professor
West German Cancer Center, University of Duisburg-Essen
Germany

Specialty: Gynecologic Oncology

Read Rainer's Election Profile

IGCS Activities:

  • IGCS Council Member Representing Africa/Europe/Middle East (2016-2020)
  • IGCS Annual Global Meeting Scientific Program Committee Chair (Rome 2020)
  • IGCS Global Network (Online Member Community) Moderator (2018-Present)

Personal Statement:

Dear IGCS members and friends all around the world,

I would like to serve as your Secretary-Treasurer Elect in IGCS and ask you for your support.

As Council Member for the past 4 years I have had the opportunity to get insights into our Society, its achievements and also its potential for the coming years. I also had the chance to actively support the development of our online communication platform and our new membership directory. 

As you know, I am convinced that each of us should have the very best education and technology available. Thus, the main goal of IGCS projects must be to share knowledge and skills all around the world and bring those on the best possible level  for everyone. This must be accompanied by evaluating the chances to implement modern technology according to each country’s resources and to develop specific skills to compensate for lack of technology wherever possible.

Thus, for the Secretary-Treasurer it is crucial not only to ensure a healthy economical/financial situation of the society, but also to support the projects most suitable to achieve these goals. This will bring the Society into a bright future being the world’s leading voice in gynecologic oncology with a powerful impact on womens’ health.  I would be very happy if I could further contribute to this promising future of the Society with all my experience and my heart beating for IGCS.

Before being elected for the IGCS Council, I worked 6 years in the ESGO Council as “Educational Chair” and Vice President. Currently, I am serving as President of SERGS (Society of European Robotic Gynaecological Surgery) after 6 years experience as Council Member and Secretary/Treasurer.

Dear friends, please give me your trust and confidence; I will work hard for you and our Society.

Health, Luck and Happiness to all of you.

Yours, Rainer

Candidates for Council Member (Americas)

Carolyn Johnston, MD
Clinical Professor Emeritus
University of Michigan
United States

Specialty: Gynecologic Oncology

Read Carolyn's Election Profile

IGCS Activities:

  • International Mentor, IGCS Gynecologic Oncology Global Curriculum & Mentorship Program for St. Paul Millennium Medical College and Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (2017-Present)
  • Project ECHO® Virtual Tumor Board Contributor  (2018-Present)

Personal Statement:

I feel that it is my turn to be of service to an organization that has given so much support to the fellows whom I mentor and admire. These fellows have either benefitted from membership in an IGCS sponsored fellowship and its attendant assets (Ethiopia) or from IGCS-sponsored travel and visiting scholar grants (Ghana). Thus, so too have I gained from the IGCS. I also believe, that although it is great to have a diverse and large membership, that individual members need to work together to build a sustainable product, particularly in locations where quickly the mentee becomes the mentor for the next batch of trainees. How to continue to provide that support while moving on to new locations is a challenge, but one worthy of attention.

I, like others, have spent decades in one location (Kumasi, Ghana) helping to build a sustainable future for gynecologic oncology training. This continuity has allowed me to understand many of the political, economic, social and personal challenges of being a gynecologic oncology fellow in the developing world, where one cannot simply stop every day medical work and dedicate all their time to specialty training, but must also continue to support the department as a generalist and teacher of medical students and residents, as well as work in a private practice setting to support themselves. Training and teaching in this environment have taught me patience and humility, enriched my teaching skills and given me great friends and colleagues. In addition, I have taught and trained many fellows in a gynecologic oncology fellowship program at an academic institution in the USA for 30 years which requires a different and more complex, and perhaps more rigid, approach to training. This apparent dichotomy gives me a unique understanding of international needs and possibilities. I was also fortunate to be a contributing member of the Sister Society which helped to develop the curriculum that is now used in the IGCS sponsored fellowships.

Given that I am primarily retired, working only one week a month while also continuing to travel to Ethiopia and Ghana for fellowship-related teaching, I have more time to devote to the IGCS council, should I be selected. I have significant past leadership and not-for-profit advisory board member experience (Michigan Cancer Consortium, ACS Great Lakes Division Board of Directors, ECHO tumor board) and work well in groups as a team member. I am however not reluctant to take the lead if a situation requires it, and I appreciate being continually challenged.  This all said, it would be a privilege to be elected to the council.

Mario Mendes Leitao, Jr., MD
Attending Surgeon
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
United States

Specialty: Gynecologic Oncology

Read Mario's Election Profile

IGCS Activities:

  • IGCS Annual Global Meeting Scientific Program Committee Member (Rio de Janeiro 2019; Rome 2020)
  • IGCS Biennial Meeting Scientific Program Committee Member (Lisbon 2016)

Personal Statement:

My passion is to cure women with gynecologic malignancies. As an individual physician and surgeon, one can only directly impact a small number of women. The only way to truly make a difference in the care of women with gynecologic cancers around the world is through strong and fruitful relationships among the many colleagues who care for these women. I have dedicated my life to not only helping the women that I see but also to sharing whatever knowledge I may have with as many colleagues as will be interested to hear. This can only be done through international dialogue and discussions. I have been fortunate to have been invited all over the world to share my thoughts and knowledge with others.

However, it is I that have learned so much more from the privilege I have been given to learn from the experience of so many talented physicians and non-physicians from every part of the world. As Chair of the Membership Committee for the SGO, it was my primary goal to expand the membership to as many International colleagues as would want to join. The SGO Members voted to adopt the historic membership criteria changes that we developed in the membership committee which made it possible for International colleagues to join easily.

I have sponsored numerous colleagues from around the world to come and observe at our institution, including UICC fellows. I am fellowship director of the only established, continuous, and fully structured International Fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology in the United States. I can take my prior experience, passion for international collaboration and the friendships I have made of so many colleagues around the world to enhance the work of the IGCS which has already made tremendous progress in the advancement of care of women around the world. I also value International collaboration from a personal standpoint. My parents are both immigrants from Portugal and the majority of my family is in Portugal and Brazil. I have been honored with a Membership in the Surgical Oncology Society of Brazil.

Michael Pearl, MD
Professor, Gynecologic Oncology
Stony Brook Medicine
United States

Specialty: Gynecologic Oncology and Palliative Care

Read Michael's Election Profile

IGCS Activities:

  • IGCS Education Committee Member, Palliative Care Work Group Co-Chair (2017-Present)
  • Project ECHO® Virtual Tumor Board Contributor (2018-Present)

Personal Statement:

While we have come far with our ability to care for our patients, we all too often still fail to meet our patients’ goals. As I’ve matured as a physician, I’m increasingly focused on improving the overall quality of life for women with gynecologic malignancies. Within my institution, I serve in a variety of leadership roles, allowing me the opportunity to develop programs addressing gaps in care and improving clinical and research services. Nationally, I serve on several committees focused on improving the provision of palliative care & hospice for women with gynecologic malignancies.

Annually, 1.3 million women develop a gynecologic malignancy worldwide, half of whom die; 56% of cases and 64% of deaths are in lesser developed countries.  Only 14% of adults who need palliative care receive it; 78% of those who need it are in lesser developed countries. Palliative care is a human rights issue; the World Health Assembly called upon the WHO and Member States to improve access to palliative care as a core component of health systems.

The purpose of IGCS includes “improvement in the quality of life” for women with gynecologic malignancies. Arguably, effective palliative care provides the greatest improvement in our patients’ quality of life, yet 70% of our members report no formal training in palliative care. There is a critical need to educate our members, as well local health care providers, in the principles of palliative care.

In 2018, I was given the privilege to serve as the co-editor of the IGCS Global Curriculum for Palliative Care. Working with a passionate and dedicated team, we developed a superb curriculum that will serve as a template to introduce practicing health care providers, primarily those in lesser developed countries, to the knowledge and skills necessary to provide effective palliative care and improve the quality of life for women with gynecologic malignancies.

International medicine, especially in lesser developed countries, has been a lifelong goal that I’ve deferred due to personal and professional constraints.  At this time in my life and career, I’m able to commit to international service. My work with IGCS members and leadership has been thoroughly enjoyable, rewarding and the highlight of my career.

Should I be elected to the IGCS Council, I will strive to assist the council and leadership in representing the IGCS membership and the women cared for by the members.  I believe that my experience as a senior gynecologic oncologist, palliative care specialist and seasoned administrative leader provides a unique perspective that will greatly benefit IGCS. In particular, I will work with IGCS to improve the provision of palliative care to those in need, especially in lesser developed countries.

My many years of clinical, research and leadership service, including serving on the equivalent of the IGCS Council, have given me substantial experience as a collaborative committee member and leader. It’s been a privilege and a pleasure to work with the members and leadership of IGCS; I welcome the opportunity to continue to do so as a Council member. 

Candidates for Council Member (Asia/Oceania)

 

Rhonda Farrell, BAppSc (Physio) DRANZCOG MBBS (Hons) FRANZCOG CGO MSurg  
Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, University of Sydney
Australia

Specialty: Gynecologic Oncology

Read Rhonda's Election Profile

IGCS Activities

  • Presented at IGCS Biennial Meetings (Prauge 2010; Melbourne 2014)

Personal Statement:

I have been an IGCS Member since 2005. All women and their families deserve the highest standard of care for the prevention, detection and treatment of gynaecological cancer independent of where they live or their socio-economic situation.  Medical caregivers in wealthy countries have an obligation to assist those in poorer nations to provide this care through education and mentorship, new technologies, and financial support.

As a member of the IGCS Council, I would like to not only improve my own participation in these activities but to reach out and engage others to do the same. My best leadership qualities are my ability to engage the wider community to recognize these goals and support them through philanthropy, to mentor junior doctors and other colleagues to improve the quality of gynaecological surgery, and to foster and support research into gynaecological cancer.

I work well in a team as a driver of change and as a collaborator to support other members of the team to work to the best of their ability.  I have particular interest and experience in the following areas 1. fostering collaboration between surgical disciplines (gynaecological oncology and other oncological surgical specialties) to improve the standard of teaching of junior surgeons and to enhance the overall multidisciplinary care of women with abdominopelvic cancer, 2. supporting, mentoring and promoting collaboration between junior surgeons, oncology trainees and scientists in gynaecological cancer research, 3. working with young women in the community to engage them in careers in science, technology, engineering and medicine (STEM), and 4. engaging with consumers and the wider community to foster philanthropy and support improvements in cancer care. Through working with IGCS, I would like to expand these skills and apply them on an international platform to improve outcomes for all women with gynaecological cancer.

Dilyara Kaidarova, MD, PhD
Director, Kazakh Institute of Oncology and Radiology
Kazakhstan

Specialty: Gynecologic Oncology

Read Dilyara's Election Profile

IGCS Activities:

  • Kazakhstan Representative for the IGCS Strategic Alliance Partnership (2017-Present)
  • Project ECHO® Virtual Tumor Board Contributor (2018-Present)

Personal Statement:

Kazakhstan is the leading country among the CIS countries in the implementation of the National Cervical Cancer Screening Program and the HPV vaccination program. I have been the Director of the Kazakh Institute of Oncology and Radiology for the past four years. The main objective is to improve the quality of cancer care in Kazakhstan. Numbers of programs have been initiated to improve the quality of Cancer Care under Kazakh Institute of Oncology and Radiology leadership. The ImPACT Mission Review of Cervical Cancer Screening Program was initiated in Kazakhstan. In the result of these we improved cervical cancer screening coverage of the target population.

Why am I running for Council Member practicing in Asia?

The main purpose of my work as an IGCS Council Member will be to attract gyn-oncologists from Kazakhstan’s neighboring countries to the IGCS. Kazakhstan has just begun to take steps to cooperate and collaborate with international medical societies. These partnerships opened the opportunity for Kazakhstan to develop evidence-based medicine in the cancer care area, learn from the experience of foreign colleagues, and participate in international research and projects. I hope that Kazakhstan will become a bridge in the cooperation of the countries of Central Asia with the leading specialists of IGCS.

Joining the post of council will strengthen the work on the prevention of cervical cancer not only in Kazakhstan, but also in Central Asia. The work will be carried out to attract international studies as well as training specialists from neighboring countries.

Asima Mukhopadhyay, MD, PhD, MRCOG, MSc
Consultant Gynecological Oncologist
Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute Kolkata, India
Northern Gynecological Oncology Centre, Gateshead, United Kingdom

Specialty: Gynecologic Oncology

Read Asima's Election Profile

IGCS Activities:

  • IGCS Education Committee Member, General Gynecologic Oncology Workgroup (2018-Present)
  • International Mentor, IGCS Gynecologic Oncology Global Curriculum & Mentorship Program for Civil Service Hospital, Nepal (2018-Present)

Personal Statement:

My professional career has prioritised:

  1. Promoting education and training in low-middle income countries (LMICs-India/Nepal) including development of cytoreductive and minimal access surgery programs. I currently supervise two Nepalese trainees in the Global Curriculum Programme.
  2. Translational/clinical research with focus on developing low-cost biomarkers and interventional trials suited for the need for women residing in LMICs. I have been able to successfully develop and lead a co-operative research group – Kolkata Gynecological Oncology Trials and Translational Research Group (KolGoTrg) which is the first ever group from India to be represented in GCIG. We have 3 CCRN sites and hope to build up a network in ovarian cancer (OCRN) keeping in mind the increasing trend globally. The royalty that I receive, being one of the co-inventors of the PARP inhibitor rucaparib has been donated to support this work.

While working in India and the UK and mentoring the IGCS global curriculum in Nepal, my reflection is that many gynecological oncology regional centers in Asia/Oceania currently may not have access to a structured program as robust and inclusive as the IGCS module even if there are local board-certified programs.  

As an IGCS Council Representative from Asia-Oceania, my role will be:

  1. Expanding the IGCS curriculum especially in LMICs/sites which cannot obtain local accreditation due particularly to the number of positions although otherwise fulfilling the IGCS criteria. All regional cancer centers may be eligible to become IGCS certified as well if they opt for and fulfill the standards/criteria. With an increase in the number of sites, it may not be possible for one person/central IGCS organization to co-ordinate this effort and we may have to have region specific leaders who will develop tumor boards/training sessions/international mentoring in a more time-zone/cost-efficient manner. One example being the India-Nepal partnership. However, there is need for developing “training the trainers” modules and short courses/travelling fellowships for the trainers as a pre-requisite to this expansion so that the quality and parity is ensured between regions.
  2. I would promote development of an IGCS certified nursing training program and courses/mentorship schemes for health care assistants/social workers working in the field of gynecological cancers.
  3. I will develop a minimal dataset (through a data harmonization committee and determination of standards/ audit trail for data quality) for data capture for women presenting with symptoms/referral patterns and treatment/defaults/outcomes/ survival trends. This could be based on databases like REDCap. Centers participating in this scheme and maintaining a track record for prospective and periodic data capture for at least 2 years will be certified as IGCS data centers and have incentives towards participation at IGCS meetings. Members in each region can be identified to lead on this responsibility. This will improve membership/retention/local empowerment.
  4. I will promote publications of grey literature/structured reports/audits from regional centers through the IGCS education portal (divided in region specific sections and templates) and journals like Gyn Oncology Reports. Fellows/young scientists and clinicians will be encouraged to promote clinician-scientist interactive forums.

It is an honour to be considered for this position.

Candidates for Council Member (Europe)

Donal Brennan, PhD
Professor of Gynaecologic Oncology
University College Dublin
Ireland

Specialty: Gynecologic Oncology

Read Donal's Election Profile

IGCS Activities:

  • IGCS Annual Global Meeting Scientific Program Committee, European Regional Co-Chair (Rio de Janeiro 2019)
  • IGCS Education Committee Member, General Gynecologic Oncology Workgroup (2019-Present)
  • International Mentor, IGCS Gynecologic Oncology Global Curriculum & Mentorship Program for University of West Indies, Jamaica (2018-Present)
  • Course Director, Shingo Fujii Young Doctors Summit (Melbourne 2014; Lisbon 2016; Kyoto 2018)

Personal Statement:

The IGCS is a truly global society and its activity in both the developing and developed world are what makes serving as a Council Member so attractive. The opportunity to have a global impact on policy, training, and ultimately improve outcomes for all women affected by gynaecological cancer irrespective of their geographical location are the main reasons I would like to serve on the IGCS Council. My own experience in addressing serious concerns around HPV vaccination and cervical screening in Ireland have allowed me to develop a collaborative leadership approach with politicians, patients, and the public.

If elected, I would focus on developing even closer links to patient advocates.  Many problems in medicine arise from poor communication.  I firmly believe that as medical technology advances, communication with patients and their families will become more challenging. I believe the only approach to address this issue is to incorporate patient experience and shared vocabularies into clinical and research practices.  Technologies such as next generation sequencing and personalised medicine are developing at an astonishing rate, however cultural narratives around illness and medicine do not have the same agility; for example, while we may intervene at a genetic level to treat a cancer using a PARP inhibitor, we do not have a word for parents who have lost a child. As a consequence, there is a communication gap between the capacity of medicine and its delivery. Patients and doctors are literally not speaking the same language.  

Therefore, if elected, I would work on developing meaningful and lasting partnerships with international patient advocates form a variety of geographical regions. The goal of this partnership would be to develop an international shared vocabulary for women with gynaecological malignancy. As a truly international society, the IGCS is uniquely positioned to develop this kind of resource which would have a major impact on the daily practice of its members but would also provide a lasting resource for women all over the world with gynaecological cancer. 

Daniela Luvero, MD
University Campus Bio Medico of Rome
Italy

Specialty: Gynecologic Oncology

Read Daniela's Election Profile

IGCS Activities:

  • Active participant in IGCS Meetings since 2010
  • Collaborated with the IGCS to plan workshops, conferences, and presentations for the IGCS Biennial Meetings (Lisbon 2016; Kyoto 2018) and the Annual Global Meeting (Rio de Janeiro 2019: Rome 2020)

Personal Statement:

My name is Daniela Luvero and I have always been interested in Gynecologic Oncology. It was a great privilege and honor to have been recently nominated for the position of Council Member for Europe.

I have been devoted to Gynecologic Oncology for my whole life. In 2013, I was a clinical fellow in the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at University College Hospital in London under the supervision of JA Ledermann, participating in research protocols and clinical activities. I am currently in the PhD Oncology course, following research on the early diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

Since 2010, I have been an active participant in IGCS meetings, and from 2015 onwards I have collaborated in IGCS planning workshops, conferences and presentations. I have participated in round tables, have served on the industry advisory board and have spoken at national and international conferences. I am a contributing author to several national and international papers regarding the prevention, treatment, and study of gynecologic cancer, with a specific attention to quality-of-life.

Most of my work has been dedicated to advocacy programs, collaborating with several national and international patients’ associations. I endeavor to ensure that all people impacted by cancer are empowered through knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by community, through online, in-person, and phone-based counseling and support groups and through educational workshops and publications.

As an IGCS Council member, I would like to offer my experience in survivor-patient advocacy programs and contribute to women’s empowerment globally, especially in low-income countries, to improve women’s understanding of cancer prevention, risks, screening tests and treatments. I would also leverage my youth to meaningfully engage young doctors in the work of the IGCS.

If I were selected it would be my honor to contribute to improving advocacy- and community-centered programs and to engage survivors-patients, caregivers, families, and advocates globally.

Lukas Rob, MD, PhD
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 3rd Medical Faculty, Charles University Prague, Oncogynecology Center University Hospital Kralovske Vinohrady
Czech Republic

Specialty: Gynecologic Oncology

Read Lukas' Election Profile

IGCS Activities:

  • IGCS Finance Committee Member (2006-2010)
  • IGCS Biennial Meeting Scientific Program Committee, President of Local Organizing Committee (Prague 2010)
  • IGCS Nominating Committee Member (2015-2016)

Personal Statement:

With the nomination and possible election to the IGCS Council as the representative of oncogynecologists for the European region, I would like to contribute with my work experience to the further development of the society and to help achieve well-set strategic goals.

From my point of view, the most important effort is to achieve optimal care in women with gynecologic malignancies in individual regions of the world, to help build infrastructure of oncogynecological care according to real local possibilities.

In particular I see possibilities in improving education, training programs, and sharing experience with building infrastructure of oncogynecological care. These programs must be organized in cooperation with local societies and leading physicians. I will be honored to contribute with my work in the further development of IGCS.

Candidates for Council Member (Radiation Oncology)

Thomas Samuel Ram, MD
Professor & Associate Director (Missions)
Ida B Scudder Cancer Center, Christian Medical College Vellore
India

Specialty: Radiation Oncology

Read Thomas' Election Profile

IGCS Activities:

  • IGCS Education Committee Member, Radiation Oncology Work Group (2019-Present)
  • IGCS Travelling Scholar Recipient (2008)

Personal Statement:

I have been an Active Member of IGCS since 2006, and I feel privileged to have received generous support and guidance from IGCS for my early career development which enabled invaluable global exposure to oncology. I had the honour of being awarded the IGCS travelling scholar award in 2008 which supported my training for Cervix brachytherapy at Long Beach Memorial Hospital, California.

Over the past several years I have been involved in various national and international activities, recently involving WHO, IGCS, and International Cancer Expert Corps (ICEC) which has added a global perspective professionally and personally. I feel this opportunity will enable me to contribute globally with the experience and skill I have gathered through my international engagement. Serving on the IGCS Council will provide an opportunity to utilise my talents in health care leadership, global networking and my experience serving in a not-for-profit academic institution and in underserved areas.

If I am elected, I would like to demonstrate effective stewardship of this role and responsibility. I would like to develop a strategy to further the impact mandate of IGCS – Educate, Collaborate, Unite, Mentor. I would like to address issues that will bridge the global health gaps, especially in gynaecological oncology by developing appropriate strategies for resource-stratified education and training – thus enabling high quality, affordable cancer care.

I would also like to develop health care models as the future of health care is transitioning to a shifting paradigm of care shift and role shift. This paradigm will perhaps be the solution for filling the gaps in the oncology care value chain where work force shortage of oncology professionals is already leading to significant health care disparities. I believe this will be one of the key strategies if we need to strengthen the interdependence within various health care professionals in our health care value chain, especially as we seek to implement the Global Strategy for Elimination of Cervical Cancer as envisioned by the WHO.

I have been fortunate to be mentored into health care leadership as early as my medical school days in the early 1990s. I had the privilege of leadership experience especially in underserved areas and in not-for-profit academic organisations which has placed me at a unique position of thinking from a perspective of lean health care in oncology. The vision of our institution CMC Vellore of compassionate clinical care, educational, and research excellence in sustainable systems has enabled me to experience a passionate commitment to the most vulnerable people while at the same time promoting cutting-edge education, service, and research.

Due to my visits to international cancer centres and interaction with several global oncology leaders, my networking strengths will be appropriately useful through this responsibility. My ongoing training in MBA (Health Care Systems and Hospital Management) will also add value to the role as an international representative of the Radiation Oncology community in IGCS. I believe that this responsibility will provide an opportunity on a global platform for a fulfilling experience as an oncologist as it will enable meaningful global partnerships towards effective cancer care.

Alexandra Taylor, MD
Royal Marsden Hospital, London
United Kingdom

Specialty: Radiation Oncology

Read Alexandra's Election Profile

IGCS Activities:

  • IGCS Annual Global Meeting Scientific Program Committee Member (Rio de Janeiro 2019)
  • Project ECHO® Virtual Tumor Board Contributor (2019-Present)

Personal Statement:

I would like to serve as a member of the IGCS council because this would be a great opportunity to become more involved in developing excellence in care for women with gynecological cancer. The IGCS multi-disciplinary approach is essential for optimising outcomes and supporting education, research and healthcare with a global focus. I bring enthusiasm, commitment and a strong collaborative approach, with experience of working within national and international committees. My areas of particular interest are radiotherapy development, training and patient survivorship.

I believe the international collaboration that exists within IGCS provides opportunities to further develop education and training in radiation oncology. My research background has included development of internationally adopted guidance on radiotherapy target volumes. I have developed and led IMRT workshops and national radiation oncology meetings on gynaecological cancer. The rapid pace of recent developments in radiation oncology offers exciting opportunities to improve outcomes for patients. But to support these advances we require robust validation and quality assurance, particularly as new techniques including stereotactic radiotherapy, re-irradiation and combination therapies with immunotherapy are increasingly being used.

Radiotherapy is an essential primary treatment for cervical cancer globally and there remains a huge need to improve the available resources in many countries. IGCS has already developed a successful international mentorship program for gynecology oncology surgery and I would aim to promote a similar program for training and mentorship in radiation oncology.

In addition, with the significant improvements we are making in cancer treatment, we now have increasing numbers of long-term survivors. Treatment effects can have a significant impact on the quality of life for patients. Survivorship programmes and management of the consequences of treatment is an important field of patient care that I am keen to highlight within IGCS.

IJGC: Latest Content

See the latest articles, videos and podcasts.

The International Journal of Gynecological Cancer (IJGC) is the primary educational and informational publication for topics relevant to detection, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gynecologic malignancies. Its content is read by gynecologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, and research scientists with a special interest in gynecological oncology. IJGC emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach and includes original research, reviews, and video articles.

 

European Menopause and Andropause Society (EMAS) and International Gynecologic Cancer Society (IGCS) Position statement on managing the menopause after gynecological cancer: focus on menopausal symptoms and osteoporosis

Worldwide, 1.3 million new gynecological cancer cases are diagnosed each year. Treatment can result in loss of ovarian function and, in women under the age of 45, early menopause. This position statement provides an individualized approach to the management of menopausal symptoms and the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis

(FREE ARTICLES)

EDITORIAL

World Health Organization call for action to eliminate cervical cancer globally 
Murat Gultekin, Pedro T Ramirez, Nathalie Broutet, Raymond Hutubessy

Quality indicators in cervical cancer surgery: a valiant step in the right direction
Pedro T Ramirez

LEAD ARTICLE

European Society of Gynaecological Oncology quality indicators for surgical treatment of cervical cancer 
David Cibula, François Planchamp, Daniela Fischerova, Christina Fotopoulou, Christhardt Kohler, Fabio Landoni, Patrice Mathevet, Raj Naik, Jordi Ponce, Francesco Raspagliesi, Alexandros Rodolakis, Karl Tamussino, Cagatay Taskiran, Ignace Vergote, Pauline Wimberger, Ane Gerda Zahl Eriksson, Denis Querleu

CASE STUDY

Peritoneal tuberculosis: the great mimicker 
Aaron Varghese, Amanda Fader, MaryAnn Wilbur, Kevan Salimian, Javad R Azadi, Pamela T Johnson, Rebecca Stone

Locally-advanced vaginal cancer with complete utero-vaginal prolapse 
Alessandro Buda, Esra Yaprak, Rodolfo Milani, Matteo Frigerio, Rosangela Perego, Marta Jaconi, Sofia Meregalli

Placental site trophoblastic disease
Guido Martin Rey Valzacchi, Diego Odetto, Carolina Beatriz Chacon, Alejandra Wernicke, Yang Xiang

Can somatic BRCA2 status solve a case of olaparib monotherapy resistance? 
Antonella Pietragalla, Angelo Minucci, Claudia Marchetti, Giovanni Scambia, Anna Fagotti

CORNERS OF THE WORLD

Sentinel lymph node detection in patients with cervical cancer in a public hospital in Guatemala
Erick Estuardo Estrada

Passion for saving lives: Turkey between 2012 and 2017 
Murat Gultekin, Semra Hatice Turan, Guledal Boztas, Cansu Öztürk, Ezgi Hacikamiloğlu

Connecting frontline providers in Africa with distant experts to improve patients’ outcomes through Project ECHO: a successful experience in Cameroon
Joel Fokom Domgue, Ellen Baker, Florence Manjuh, Melissa Lopez, Thomas Welty, Kathleen M Schmeler

Telementoring in gynecologic oncology training: changing lives in Mozambique 
Renato Moretti-Marques, Mila Pontremoli Salcedo, Donato Callegaro Filho, Andre Lopes, Marcelo Vieira, Geórgia Fontes Cintra, Magda Ribeiro, Dércia Changule, Siro Daud, Ricardina Rangeiro, Ellen Baker, Cesaltina Lorenzoni, Jose Humberto Tavares Guerreiro Fregnani, Kathleen M Schmeler

VIDEO ARTICLE

Transvaginal phase of laparoscopic radical hysterectomy 
Christhardt Kohler, Anna Jacob, Viola Schneider, Achim Schneider, Andrea Plaikner

Multidisciplinary approach in the pelvic relapse of a previously irradiated cervical tumor 
Daniel Vázquez-Vicente, Teresa Castellanos, Alvaro Cabello, Enrique Chacon, Jose Angel Minguez, Luis Chiva

Double-barrel wet colostomy after total pelvic exenteration 
Victor Lago, Tiermes Marina, Francisco Delgado Oliva, Pablo Padilla-Iserte, Luis Matute, Santiago Domingo

Robotic debulking of confluent pelvic lymph nodes 
Hubert Fornalik, Nicole Fornalik

Sentinel lymph node mapping for uterine cancer: a practical illustration of injection and mapping techniques using robot-assisted fluorescence imaging 
Jennifer J Mueller, Mario M Leitao

Right diaphragmatic peritonectomy for ovarian carcinomatosis in 10 steps 
Martina Aida Angeles, Carlos Martínez-Gómez, Federico Migliorelli, Elodie Chantalat, Alejandra Martinez, Gwenael Ferron

Bricker ileal conduit diversion in 10 steps 
Carlos Martínez-Gómez, Martina Aida Angeles, Claire Sanson, Malavaud Bernard, Alejandra Martinez, Gwenael Ferron

Intra-operative identification of ureters using indocyanine green for gynecological oncology procedures
María Cabanes, Felix Boria, Alicia Hernández Gutiérrez, Ignacio Zapardiel

Laparoscopic intra-operative ultrasound-guided bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy in a BRCA2 mutated patient 
Matteo Bruno, Ilaria De Blasis, Benito Marinucci, Antonia Carla Testa, Giovanni Scambia, Anna Fagotti

Sentinel lymph node in apparent early ovarian cancer: open technique 
Victor Lago, Pilar Bello, María Tiermes Marina Martín, Beatriz Montero, Pablo Padilla-Iserte, Susana Lopez, Luis Matute, Santiago Domingo

Gynecologic Oncology News & Press

A compilation of articles, news, study results and other updates in the field of gynecologic oncology.

Entries with titles highlighted in red may be of particular interest to survivors, caregivers or the general public.

PARP Inhibitor Becomes Standard of Care for Advanced Ovarian Cancer Subset
February 7, 2020: Oncology Nursing News – Frontline niraparib (Zejula) is the new standard of care for patients with newly diagnosed, platinum-sensitive advanced ovarian cancer, after the positive results from the phase III PRIMA trial, explained Antonio González-Martín, MD, lead author in the study. Read more.

World Health Organization Outlines Plan to Eliminate Cervical Cancer in Low to Middle Income Countries
February 5, 2020: Cure – The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced its plans for eliminating cervical cancer as a public health problem among low-income to middle-income countries by fully vaccinating 90% of girls by 15 years old, screen 70% of women between the ages of 35 and 45 and provide 90% of patients with disease receiving care. The organization believes not only will this eliminate cervical cancer in these regions within this century, but also prevent millions of deaths, according to two modeling analyses published in The Lancet. Read more.

MEK/PI3K Inhibitor Combo Generates Activity in RAS/BRAF-Mutant Ovarian Cancer
February 4, 2020: Targeted Oncology – Continuous dosing of the MEK inhibitor binimetinib (Mektovi) plus buparlisib (BKM120), a PI3K inhibitor, demonstrated promising activity as treatment of patients with ovarian cancer harboring either a RAS or BRAF mutation, according to results from a phase Ib clinical trial (NCT01363232). Read more.

ASCO Guideline: Germline Testing Recommended for All Women Diagnosed With Epithelial Ovarian Cancer
February 4, 2020: Cancer Therapy Advisor – A retrospective study showed improved survival among patients with ovarian cancer treated with beta-
All women with a diagnosis of epithelial ovarian cancer should be offered testing for specific germline mutations, according to a new recommendation from ASCO. Read more.

Cervical cancer elimination ‘could be achieved’ by 2120
February 3, 2020: Healio – High HPV vaccination coverage for girls and scaled-up screening and treatment may lead to the elimination of cervical cancer in most lower-middle-income countries over the next 100 years, according to results of two modeling studies published in The Lancet. Read more.

Women’s wellness: researchers look at post menopause as key factor in endometrial cancer
February 3, 2020: Medical Xpress – Endometrial cancer is the most common gynecological malignancy in the U.S. and the fourth most common cancer among women. In addition, endometrial cancer incidence rates are on the rise in the western world, suggesting that alterations in environmental factors such as diet, lifestyle, and the vaginal microbiome may be important drivers in its cause. Read more.

Ipilimumab Shows Tolerability and Signals Efficacy in Advanced Cervical Cancer
January 28, 2020: Targeted Oncology – The phase I study of sequential ipilimumab (Yervoy) after chemoradiotherapy as a curative-intent treatment of patients with node-positive cervical cancer included 34 female patients with stage Ib2 to VI cervical cancer with positive pelvic lymph nodes, para-aortic lymph nodes, or both. Read more.

Use of intrauterine devices may decrease risk for ovarian cancer
January 21, 2020: Healio – Previous studies have linked the use of intrauterine devices (IUDs) to reduced risk for cervical and uterine cancer. Based on these findings, Saketh R. Guntupalli, MD, associate professor and director of the division of gynecologic oncology at University of Colorado School of Medicine, and colleagues examined the possible correlation between IUD use and risk for ovarian cancer. Read more.

Is it still reasonable to offer MIS hysterectomy? No.
January 20, 2020: Contemporary OB/GYN – Dr. Amanda Nickles Fader discusses the con side of the MIS argument from the LACC trial controversy. Read more.

Is it still reasonable to offer MIS hysterectomy? Yes.
January 20, 2020: Contemporary OB/GYN – Dr. Wendell Nauman discusses the pro side of the MIS argument from the LACC trial controversy. Read more.

While survival rates soar for other cancers, funding gaps limit progress on cervical and uterine cancer
January 10, 2020: The Verge – There are limited treatment advances for aggressive forms of these diseases. Read more.

Keytruda Approved for BCG-Unresponsive, High-Risk Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer
January 9, 2020: Cancer Therapy Advisor – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Keytruda (pembrolizumab; Merck) for the treatment of patients with Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG)-unresponsive, high-risk, non-muscle invasive bladder cancer with carcinoma in situ (CIS) with or without papillary tumors who are ineligible for or have elected not to undergo cystectomy. Read more.

Now Accepting Abstracts for IGCS 2020

Submit your Abstracts for IGCS 2020

Submission Deadline: May 1, 2020

IGCS is seeking all medical professionals who are a part of the gynecologic and breast cancer care team to submit abstracts for the 2020 Annual Global Meeting of the International Gynecologic Cancer Society which will be held in Rome, Italy from September 10 – 12, 2020.

We are currently accepting abstracts to be considered for oral or poster presentation. All abstracts must be original work, and not previously published or orally presented at other scientific meetings. Select posters will be chosen as oral presentations for the featured poster session: “Walk the Posters with a Professor” in the exhibit hall.

Surgical film submissions will be accepted from April 1 – May 15.

Abstract Topics:

Basic/Translational Science
Genetics And Epidemiology
Imaging/Staging
Gynecologic Pathology/Cytology & Disease Pathogenesis
Cervical Cancer
Uterine Cancer Including Sarcoma
Ovarian Cancer
Rare Tumors & Gestational Trophoblastic Neoplasia
Vulvar & Vaginal Cancer

Early Phase Clinical Trials
Trials In Progress
Symptom Management/Supportive Cancer Care
Nursing & Health Care
Global Health
Surgical Techniques & Perioperative Management
Surgical Films
Breast
Pre-Invasive Disease
Palliative Care

Click Here To Submit

If you have questions or need assistance, please email igcs2020@mci-group.com.

Summary of My Experience at the WHO

SUMMARY ON MY EXPERIENCE AT WHO
By Alessandra Gatti, MD
Gynaecology Resident
Campus Biomedico University of Rome

Thanks to the International Gynecologic Cancer Society and in particular to Professor Roberto Angioli, IGCS President, and Ms. Mary Eiken, IGCS CEO, I had the opportunity to work at the World Health Organization Head Quarters in Geneva for three months (October – December 2019). It was an extraordinary experience and our collaboration will continue in the following months.

I was assigned to the WHO’s Department for the Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention, coordinated by Doctor Cherian Varghese from India, who was a pleasure to work with. I was sharing the office with my direct supervisor, Doctor Elena Fidarova, technical officer at the same department. Our main mission was to finish the draft for the WHO’s challenge on Cervical Cancer Elimination by the end of the year, December 2019.

Our small hard-working international team included the already mentioned Doctor Elena Fidarova, a Belarusian radiation oncologist, Doctor André Ilbawi, an American surgeon, Doctor Scott Howard, an American Pediatric Oncologist, and his wife and colleague, Doctor Catherine Lam. Other people, who had already left at the time of my arrival, had given their contribution to this important project.

 

My work started in October 2019, with a full immersion in the WHO world and publications on the research topic. After a week of orientation, I felt quite prepared for my future assignment and started to complete some missing sections of the drafted text and some appendixes. Almost every day, as soon as I had finalized my task, Doctor Fidarova was ready to review it and, on approval, integrate it into the final brochure.

It was not all about writing; we had also to participate in various departmental meetings and calls on how to proceed with the draft with a common vision. We had to reformulate a new questionnaire for WHO, tentatively titled “Assessment Tool,” which will be used to evaluate globally facilities for cervical cancer management. In addition, I found it very beneficial to have the opportunity to sketch summary grids and charts to be integrated into the final brochure. I am proud to note that I have been credited with some of the charts that have been published in another WHO project, called “Guide for Establishing a Pathology Laboratory in the Context of Cancer Control.”

Finally, on December 16, 2019, the final version of the draft “Global Strategy towards Eliminating Cervical Cancer As a Public Health Problem,” our main work, strongly supported by IGCS, was released. So far it is a 33-page document, with additional appendixes to be added upon further review. This drafted document will be discussed in the following meetings: 3-8 February, 2020, Geneva Executive Board, 146th session and 17-21 May, 2020, Geneva 73rd World Health Assembly. Other inputs will be given from an international perspective and the ultimate version, in the form of a booklet, will be finalized for publication.

After this fruitful research collaboration and important step forward, a few days before Christmas, we all said our farewells and exchanged some gifts during an Italian breakfast at the WHO canteen. I was given, among other presents, a stuffed HPV virus, to remember our teamwork and the WHO’s latest mission. It was hilarious and I will always carry that present with me, along with this extraordinary experience, which I will continue as a remote collaborator with the team from my base in Italy during the following months.

Once again, I would like to express my gratitude to IGCS, Professor Roberto Angioli, Mary Eiken, and all the people who supported me, for the professional growth and experience I have gained over the last three months that I have worked at WHO.

Alessandra Gatti, MD
Gynaecology Resident
Campus Biomedico University of Rome

2020 Council Nominations & Elections

Dear IGCS Member,

We are currently seeking committed volunteers to apply for leadership positions to help guide the society’s strategic direction and work towards our mission of uniting the globe in the fight against gynecologic cancers.

Why we need Leaders to Volunteer for Council Service

Perhaps the most important and influential part of what we do as a society is ensuring that our leadership is comprised of experienced and dedicated members to carry out our mission of improving outcomes for women affected by gynecologic cancer through teaching, mentorship and training.

Our council and committees now reflect the gender and diversity of our membership and we have become a truly international society reaching out to all corners of the globe. It is even now more important that future councils are truly representative of our global membership. To this end, the IGCS region previously assigned to Europe, Africa and the Middle East has now been divided into separate regions to ensure better representation.

Open Council Positions in 2020

  • President Elect (from Asia or Oceania, based on rotation)
  • Vice President (global region unspecified)
  • Secretary-Treasurer Elect (global region unspecified)
  • Four Council Members
    • Gynecologic Oncologist practicing in the Americas (North, Central, or South) or the Caribbean
    • Gynecologic Oncologist practicing in Europe
    • Gynecologic Oncologist practicing in Asia or Oceania
    • Radiation Oncologist (global region unspecified)

View the current Council roster here.

Self-Nominations

If you are interested in serving on the Council, please submit a completed application form with your digital photograph and recent CV. If you know someone whom you feel should serve, please encourage them to apply.

The deadline to apply is Sunday, February 16, 2020.

All active Members are eligible to apply for council service, including Strategic Alliance Partners, except for Senior Members. If you are considering applying, please check that your IGCS Membership is current and that you have renewed for 2020.

Review complete information about the open positions and the nominations and election process here.

Nominating Committee: Slate Selection

IGCS uses a transparent and balanced approach to reviewing and scoring the applications. Our bylaws specify that the Nominating Committee consists of the Past President (chair), current President, President-Elect and two IGCS members at large (appointed by the chair and approved by council).

2020 Nominating Committee:

  • Michael Quinn (Australia)
  • Roberto Angioli (Italy)
  • Robert Coleman (USA)
  • June Liu (China)
  • Amita Maheshwari (India)

Each applicant will be scored individually by each committee member without discussion, using pre-determined criteria. The committee will then meet to discuss the scores and determine the best slate of candidates to be presented to the council for approval and finally to the membership for vote. No more than three (3) candidates shall be slated for each open position.

Open Elections & Regional Voting Segments

The election will be managed by an independent company that specializes in conducting secure elections for groups such as ours. Members with voting rights will be emailed an electronic ballot with information about each candidate at the beginning of April. Online voting will remain open for 30 days and announcement of those elected by majority vote will occur mid-May.

New Policy: Starting with this election, IGCS is implementing segmented voting for regional Council member positions to allow regions to elect their representatives. Regional Council members will be elected by majority vote of IGCS members residing in the specified region. For example, only members residing in European countries are eligible to vote for the European Council member representative.

All members with voting rights may cast votes for candidates running for Officer positions (President Elect, Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer Elect) and Council member positions of unspecified global region.

If you have any questions or comments about the process please contact our CEO, Mary Eiken at mary.eiken@igcsdev.com.

Sincerely,

Prof. Michael Quinn
IGCS Nominating Committee Chair & Immediate Past President

Congratulations to IGCS Global Curriculum Graduates!

Congratulations to the first three fellows completing their two-year training and final examinations through the IGCS Gynecologic Oncology Global Curriculum & Mentorship Program!

Dr. Benjamin Elly Odongo
Moi University Hospital, Kenya
Dr. Jerome Katumba
Uganda Cancer Institute
Dr. Mariam Nabwire
Uganda Cancer Institute

The Global Curriculum was established in 2017 under the leadership of then-IGCS President, Michael Quinn. It is a comprehensive education, training, and mentorship program designed for regions around the world that do not currently have formal training in gynecologic oncology. There are now 12 training sites utilizing the IGCS program under the leadership and guidance of Drs. Tom Randall and Linus Chuang.

The program at Moi University in Kenya has been in place for about 10 years, producing a number of gynecologic cancer specialists practicing in Kenya and Uganda. Dr. Benjamin Elly Odongo is the first to complete the Moi University program with the IGCS Global Curriculum in place. The program at the Uganda Cancer Institute was initiated more recently in 2017, utilizing the IGCS Global Curriculum from the start. Notably, Drs. Mariam Nabwire and Jerome Katumba are the first gynecologic oncologists to be trained locally in Uganda.

Instrumental to the program’s success is the hard work of the fellows, local faculty and administrators at each facility who are committed to implementing the curriculum and working to ensure its sustainability over time. We also acknowledge the dedication and support of the international mentors from established institutions and faculty contributors who participate in monthly Project ECHO virtual tumor board video conferences. Finally, we’d like to thank Dr. Allan Covens for his efforts as Chair of the Final Examination Committee.

To learn more about the program, please download the 2019 Annual Report.

Those who would like to learn more about how to contribute to the mentorship and training aspects of this program, please email mary.eiken@igcsdev.com.

Dr. Benjamin Elly Odongo
Moi University Hospital, Kenya
Fellowship Training Completed: 2019

“The IGCS Fellowship, especially the time spent to prepare for the ECHO tumor boards made me realize that no matter how busy I thought I was, I had to find time for reading, or surrender myself to self-chosen ignorance.

Having local mentors made me understand that there are abilities within us which have not yet been developed and can be developed further particularly the skills to manage patients with gynecological malignancies locally, the resource limitations notwithstanding.

The international mentors and the time spent at The University of Toronto led me to the discovery of the fundamental fact that we are continually learning new things and that the problems which perplex us in our part of the world can be solved through leadership, research and commitment. I am therefore proceeding to advocate for implementation of cancer prevention strategies, support efforts towards improving the capacity to make accurate cancer diagnosis, provision of treatment including palliative and end of life care.”

See more about the program in Kenya.

Dr. Jerome Katumba
Uganda Cancer Institute
Fellowship Training Completed: 2019

“I am extremely excited by the great achievement of completing the IGCS Fellowship and becoming one of the first gynecologic oncologists locally trained in Uganda. This fellowship has enriched my knowledge and skills in the field of gynecologic oncology and has completely changed my approach and practice in the management of patients.

I extend my sincere gratitude to my local and external mentors who toiled to impart us with the knowledge and skills during the training. I am also beholden by the hospitality and shadowing experience I enjoyed from the staff of the University of California San Francisco Hospital, North Carolina University Hospital and Duke University Hospital.

Bravo IGCS Fellowship Team! Keep the candle burning.”

Dr. Mariam Nabwire
Uganda Cancer Institute
Fellowship Training Completed: 2019

“The cogitation to initiate the gynecologic oncology fellowship training program in Uganda is a great turning point. The extensive support provided by the IGCS, our external mentors, and the local mentors has led to a successful fellowship program.

I am honored to be one of the first two gynecologic oncologists trained in Uganda. We plan to set up the Uganda gynecologic oncology association to ensure quality and sustainability of gynecologic oncology services in Uganda and Africa at large.”

See more about the program in Uganda.

Thoughts from Mentors & Leaders

“Congratulations to the first three international fellows to pass the final exam for the IGCS Gynecologic Oncology Global Curriculum and Mentorship Program. We are incredibly proud of our fellows and want to thank our local and international mentors for their dedication and support. Together they are changing the care and outcomes of women with gynecologic cancers around the globe.”

– Dr. Kathleen Schmeler (MD Anderson Cancer Center)
IGCS Mentorship & Training Committee Chair & International Mentor for the Mozambique Fellowship Program

“This is a really important day for IGCS. The implications for the care of women from disadvantaged backgrounds are enormous and truly reflect our mission to improve outcomes by teaching and training. Our challenge now is to get the resources to expand the program and to ensure that our new international specialists continue to be supported. Sincere congratulations to all concerned.”

-Dr. Michael Quinn
IGCS Past President and Founder of the Global Curriculum & Mentorship Program

“I am immensely proud of Mariam Nabwire and Jerome Katumba for their achievement in successfully completing their fellowship. They are the first two fellows to graduate from the Uganda program. Their success embodies all the efforts from the current local faculty including Drs. Anthony Okoth, Jane Namugga, Carolyn Nakisige, Judith Ajeani, Miriam Nakalembe; and from the administration including Drs. Jackson Orem, Annettee Nakimuli, and Nixon Niyonzima.

The initial vision for gynecologic oncology sub-specialization came from the prior Head of Department for Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Josaphat Byamugisha, almost 10 years ago. With his leadership combined with Dr. Jackson Orem, the Director of the Uganda Cancer Institute, and leadership from Makerere University, Mulago Hospital, and the Ministry of Health, the gynecologic oncology fellowship in Uganda began in October 2017.

The partnership with IGCS strengthened the curriculum and processes to achieve excellence in the quality of training. With IGCS funding support, Jerome and Mariam were able to complete an 8 week observership in the United States that they both found very meaningful for their training. In addition, the support from other passionate global educators from IGCS has been very rewarding to me.

I am very grateful for the commitment of all the external mentors, especially Dr. Stefanie Ueda. With her experience, I learned how to navigate mentorship and leadership in a challenging setting with many stakeholders involved. I owe many thanks to Duke, especially Dr. Andrew Berchuck, who supported and believed in me to make a difference. Finally, I am grateful to the women in Uganda to trust their care in us as we continue to do our best to improve their gynecologic oncology outcomes.”

-Dr. Paula Lee (Duke University Hospital)
International Mentor for the Uganda Fellowship Program

“On behalf of myself and Dr. Barry Rosen, and the local supervisors Drs. Omenge, Tonui, and Itsura, we congratulate Dr. Elly Benjamin on his successful completion of the IGCS Global Curriculum in Gynecologic Oncology. He is a special and unique individual. We are proud of both his accomplishments, and the tremendous success of our program at Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya.

Our program has been running for approximately 10 yrs, and has produced a number of gynecologic oncologists currently practicing in Kenya and Uganda. Dr. Benjamin’s accomplishment as one of the first to formally pass the IGCS training program in gynecologic oncology highlights his and our success, and is inspiring for all training programs and individuals working in low resource countries.

The collaborative efforts of the IGCS team, combined with the dedication of the international mentors, local supervisors, in addition to all the individuals participating on the monthly ECHO calls embodies the value and importance this initiative is to so many.

We hope Elly is just one of many such individuals to successfully complete this training program in the future.”

-Dr. Allan Covens (University of Toronto and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center)
International Mentor for the Moi University Fellowship Program

Renew your Membership for 2020

It’s that time of year! If your membership is set to expire on December 31st, please make sure to renew so that we may continue to serve you in 2020.

IGCS, being a member driven organization, relies on the members to support us in many ways – including renewing your membership. This past year, we’ve accomplished a lot thanks to your support and the contributions of our members. I hope you will renew your membership so you can continue receiving member benefits like these. Here are just a few examples of what we’ve accomplished in 2019:

In 2020, we hope to accomplish even more.

We plan to bring our members an enhanced online education experience, including a palliative care certificate program and dedicated resources for pathology and radiation oncology.

2020 is an election year for new Officers and Council Members, so make sure to renew your membership so you can vote in the upcoming election – or apply for a position on the council.

Please sign in to your member account and submit your membership dues for 2020 or pay in advance up to three years. If you have questions or need assistance, please contact the IGCS Membership Manager, Cathy Fearing at cathy.fearing@igcsdev.com.

As always, we thank you for your continued dedication. We look forward to serving you for another year!

Mary Eiken, MS
IGCS CEO

Membership Milestone – 3200 Members!

President’s Perspective

Dear Colleagues,

As I reflect on the past three years, our society was made up of about 900 members, mostly from the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Today, IGCS has transformed into a truly global organization with over 3200 members in 115 countries across the globe.

The IGCS Council, along with our new administrative structure led by our CEO, Mary Eiken, set goals to grow our membership and balance the representation between high-, middle-, and low-income countries.

IGCS began engaging members in new ways to enhance our programs, with a focus on mentorship and training, online education, and outreach to improve the gynecologic cancer care worldwide. She guided Council to re-imagine our membership strategy, utilizing the strength of our collaborative relationships with key leaders and gynecologic oncology groups around the world.

Due to these efforts over the past three years, IGCS’s global presence has spread – especially in Latin America, Central and Eastern Asia, and Africa.
The most recent growth that has pushed us over the threshold of 3000 came from the United States, Canada, Vietnam, and Bangladesh.
Much of this growth has emanated from our Strategic Alliance Partner Program in which we have formed mutually beneficial alliances with regional and international gynecologic oncology groups whose objectives are consistent and aligned with our own.

The partnerships unite us, allowing for closer dialogue, idea sharing, and a forum for information and collaboration in finding solutions to the many issues that face us all.

They also allow us to align our voices in the global arena in many ways, including our interactions with International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), The World Health Organization (WHO) and others. The voice is more powerful and impactful when we stand together.

I must express my gratitude to all our partners for their willingness to join us and work together to achieve our common goals. The IGCS motto has always been “to unite the globe in the fight against gynecologic cancers.” From my perspective, we operate by this guiding principle and I am honored that our members, supporters, and partners place their trust in us to be the global voice of gynecologic cancers.

IGCS is grateful for those who have been loyal, long-standing members of the IGCS and those who are new to IGCS residing in high-income regions of the world. These members provide such a wealth of knowledge, passion and desire to make a difference. IGCS so appreciates their efforts in making all of our programs successful and impactful.

So many of you regularly reach out and ask, “How can I get involved and help?” Those who are interested in becoming involved – we can always use multidisciplinary volunteers to serve as expert contributors on Project ECHO virtual tumor board calls. Monthly video conferences are conducted with 17 different sites. If you’d like to volunteer, please complete this brief online form so we can assess your availability for the calls.

For the nonmember friends of IGCS, we hope you will consider membership in 2020. We continue to place a major focus on our expanding repertoire of membership benefits, programs, and opportunities for involvement. There truly are many reasons to be a part of the IGCS.

In closing, one thing is for certain, we would not be celebrating this membership milestone without the efforts of our dedicated team of volunteers. Leaders on the IGCS Council, committees and work groups are engaged every day and work tirelessly to improve the lives of women affected by gynecologic cancers worldwide. We have accomplished so much together already, and I look forward to the future with optimism.

Sincerely,

Roberto Angioli, MD
2018-2020 IGCS President

IGCS Growth in Latin America: Chile, Peru & Mexico

IGCS Members and Friends,

Over the past several years, IGCS has curated relationships with many Latin American regional groups, supporting a variety of educational courses over the years, leading up to the recent successful IGCS Meeting in Rio de Janeiro. IGCS is uniquely positioned to provide programs and resources to help strengthen local societies and connect the members in these regional societies to a global network of gynecologic oncologists to share experiences and knowledge.

Since the launch of our Strategic Alliance Partner program in 2017, IGCS Membership representation in Latin America has increased by over 400 percent, growing from 99 to 423 members.

The IGCS Council is grateful for the efforts of Dr. René Pareja (Colombia) who has been instrumental in helping IGCS identify the many diverse needs in the region.

I am pleased to announce that the Chilean Society of Gynecologic Oncology and the Peruvian Society of Gynecological Oncology recently joined our Strategic Alliance Partner Program. And earlier this year, the Mexican College of Gynecologic Oncology invited us to their congress to promote IGCS membership.

Chilean Society of Gynecologic Oncology

The Chilean Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SCHIGO) has joined the IGCS Strategic Alliance Partnership bringing a total of 44 Chilean members to our global community. SCHIGO was established in 2001 to promote the study of gynecologic cancer in Chile.

At the recent IGCS Meeting in Rio de Janeiro, IGCS President, Roberto Angioli met with the President of SCHIGO, Dr. Clemente Arab to discuss and finalize a partnership between our organizations.

This is not the first time that IGCS and SCHIGO have worked together to bring education and training to Chile; we collaborated in 2015 to host a regional meeting in Santiago.

Peruvian Society of Gynecologic Oncology

We are also pleased to announce that the Peruvian Society of Gynecological Oncology joined the Strategic Alliance Partner Program bringing the total of our Peruvian members up to 113. Gorky Bances Neyra, the current President of Society, was instrumental in securing this partnership.

The Peruvian Society of Gynecological Oncology was founded in 1995 to promote educational and training activities in the area of gynecology oncology for its members and interested health professionals. The membership is multi-disciplinary in nature and includes members specializing in gynecologic oncology, surgical oncology, pathology, nuclear medicine, medical oncology, radiotherapy, and genetics.

This is our second Strategic Alliance Partner group from Peru.

Mexican College of Gynecologic Oncology

Earlier this year, IGCS was invited to Querétaro, Mexico for the 1st Congress of the Mexican College of Gynecologic Oncology (CMOG) by the President, Dr. Victor Manuel Vargas Hernández and Vice President, Dr. Guillermo Sidney Herbert Nuñez.

At the meeting, Dr. René Pareja presented the benefits of IGCS membership to congress attendees and encouraged them to join.. Our staff was received with enthusiasm, and nearly 50 new members joined our society during the 2-day congress bringing our total of members practicing in Mexico to 70.

Overall, the event was a huge success in beginning to develop a reciprocal relationship with the gynecologic oncology professionals in Mexico. This was a great opportunity and we hope to have the chance to visit many more regional groups to further accomplish the IGCS mission to improve the care of women worldwide.

Our conversations with regional leaders in Latin American have made us aware that issues of interest include pre-invasive cervical cancer management, new management approaches to breast cancer, enhanced laparoscopic surgery and updated tumor staging. These topics were incorporated into the IGCS Annual Global Meeting recently held in Brazil.

We are so grateful to our partners, members, and supporters who – along with us – live our mission every day. If you have any questions or comments about partnering with the IGCS please contact me directly at mary.eiken@igcsdev.com.

Sincerely,

Mary Eiken, MS
IGCS CEO