Nadeem R. Abu-RustumChief Gynecology Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
I decided to pursue a career in gynecologic oncology to cure gynecologic cancers with the most precise and novel treatment strategies, while minimizing side effects and promoting the highest quality of life to our patients. As Chief of the Gynecologic Oncology Service in the Department of Surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where I also serve as Vice-Chair for Technology Development and heavily involved on a daily basis with clinical and research activities related to gynecologic oncology. Additionally, as the Avon Chair in Gynecologic Oncology and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medical College I work very closely with all members of our disease management team to promote the highest quality of clinical care and research. My clinical research focuses on surgical therapy for gynecologic cancers and innovative surgical approaches, including sentinel node mapping, improved localization of tumors, fertility-sparing surgery, and laparoscopy. In my current role at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, I am actively involved in the development and improvement of minimally invasive techniques and oversee surgical research programs. I served as a member of the Gynecologic Oncology Group Cervix Committee and the American College of Surgeons Committee on Emerging Surgical Technology and Education. I have authored or co-authored more than 200 publications and is co-author to numerous book chapters and three textbooks in gynecologic oncology. As vice-chair of the NCCN Cervical/Uterine/Vulva Cancers Panel I am actively involved in the development on national guidelines in gynecologic oncology.
Roberto AngioliCampus Bio Medico University of Rome Professional Title: Professor and Director of Gynecology Department
IGCS Member since 1997.
My devotion to gynecologic oncology is a lifelong commitment. I chose to pursue a career in this specialty because it allows for intimate human interaction, and is a perfect link between medical and surgical aspects.
I would like to focus on providing young professionals with more opportunities for education and training and I intend to give a strong emphasis on the holistic care and quality of life of women with gynecological cancer, giving greater attention to spiritual, psycho-social and sexual health and other consequences of female cancer. I would also like eliminate barriers between developed and developing countries and minimizing large therapeutic gaps so that all women could receive optimal treatment, regardless of their origin or their social status.
Bruno BustosMedical Oncologist, Fernandez Hospital, Buenos Aires, Argentina
IGCS Member Since 2017
I am passionate about gynecological and breast tumors, because they are all different cases, no patient is the same as another. In the hospital, I am fortunate to be able to dedicate my practice solely to attending to patients with gynecological and breast tumors, every day of my life!
Mauricio Magalhães CostaHead of Gynecologic Oncology, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro / Americas Medical City
I decided to pursue a career in gynecologic oncology because gynecological cancer is a public health problem in low- and middle-income countries, especially in Latin America. Developing programs of prevention and early detection is a very important mission and all gynecologists should be prepared to promote it in their communities. From the beginning of my career I felt the importance of this work and started to participate in public campaigns in the Amazon region, slums in Rio de Janeiro and finally as a Professor in the University.
I trained in Radiumhemmet, Sweden with Prof. Nina Einhorn from 1983-1984 and I have served as Head of the Gynecologic Oncology Division at the University Hospital in Rio since 1987. I have been active for 30 years in the fight against women cancer, through academic participation, editorials, social media, event organization, member of boards of directors, specialized committee and executive positions in medical societies and NGOs, locally, nationally in Latin American globally. I intend to use these tools to spread knowledge and improve health care in gynecology oncology.
The “Eye Opener” was a thank you letter to IGCS, it was not just the name of the most popular morning coffee from the Cool Beans Cafe located on the second floor from the Duncan Building at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. Instead it describes my experience and the new perspective of the world that I gained during my three-month observership in Houston sponsored by the International Gynecologic Cancer Society (IGCS) traveling scholars program. I was also able to become involved in research projects and was even given my own review paper to write under their direction. They encouraged me to pursue research in my home country, something that I will keep on doing and try to inspire others just like me. Proof of this in 2016, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists awarded me, as Mentor of the Year.
Allan CovensProfessor & Chair, Gynecologic Oncology, University of Toronto
IGCS Member since 1990
I decided to pursue a career in gynecologic oncology because it is a fascinating specialty with so much study and research. Every patient is unique and there are many unmet needs and challenges in the specialty.
My day to day activities include mentorship of junior faculty and fellows and I take pleasure from their successes. I continually push the boundaries of our specialty, questioning what we do and why. A driving force in my practice is to constantly examine if there is something better that we could or should be doing to for our patients by exploring new options in surgery and the management of malignancies.
Lynette DennyProfessor, University of Cape Town/Groote Schuur Hospital
IGCS member since 1998.
I decided to pursue a career in gynecologic oncology because I was drawn to the inequity of access and quality of care of women with gynaecological cancer between low, middle and high income countries and to look for pragmatic and realistic ways if preventing cervical cancer among women in developing countries.
I run large community based awareness, early detection and prevention programmes, I teach at both under and postgraduate level, supervise masters and PhD students and contribute to providing a large mulitidisciplinary clinical service to women with gynaecological cancer.
Joel Fokom DomgueDepartment of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital Centre, Yaounde, Cameroon
IGCS Member since 2014
As an African citizen, some of my family members who I cared a lot for have been pulled out of life, sometimes at a young age, due to poorly managed gynecological cancer.
As an African physician and clinical researcher, I quickly noticed the steadily increasing magnitude of gynecological malignancies in my clinical practice. Given the limitations of health systems in Cameroon as in most settings in sub-Saharan Africa, the majority of cancer patients have to be referred to tertiary level hospitals for proper management. However, very few patients can actually afford to visit these referral hospitals, because they are often from rural and remote settings, of low socio-economic level and disadvantaged backgrounds.
Moreover, I realized the little interest of physicians in sub-Sahara Africa for gynecology oncology. In fact, cancer patients often arrive at an advanced stage of the disease, when the management is difficult, costly, long, and multidisciplinary, often resulting in an uncertain outcome. In addition, the lack of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and palliative care services to accompany clinicians in the care of cancer patients in Africa does not arouse their enthusiasm for this specialty. Even those who have an interest in gynecologic oncology barely find locally an academic and clinical structure that offers such training. As far as I know, there is no practicing doctor in Cameroon to date, who is certified in oncology gynecology. Yet, the number of cancer patients in need of adequate care is constantly increasing. All these factors have prompted me to take an interest in this promising specialty, with the goal of making my modest contribution to raising awareness about the burden of gynecologic cancers in Africa, to help in providing comprehensive care to women’s cancer patients in my country while ensuring the promotion of gynecologic oncology among doctors in Africa.
I work in a reference hospital in my country as a gynecologist and colposcopist. In this capacity, I practice my clinical activity in a unit of gynecology oncology where I take care of patients with gynecological cancers. Briefly, the first step of my work is to confirm the diagnosis, then to determine the stage of the disease, to set up a multidisciplinary care plan, to perform surgical treatment when indicated, or to send patients to other specialized departments (chemotherapy, radiotherapy, intensive care unit, etc…). As a colposcopist, I carry out colposcopic examinations especially in patients referred for abnormal cytology or VIA positive. In this way, I participate in the detection and management of precancerous lesions of the uterus cervix. The treatment options for cervical dysplasia available in my department include crotherapy, LEEP and hysterectomy.
My prevention activities are not confined to cervical cancer but include other gynecological cancers. For instance, clinical breast examination is practiced and breast self-examination is taught to women who consult for various reasons in the department of obstetrics and gynecology of the University Hospital Centre of Yaounde, Cameroon. In families considered to be at risk, genetic screening for breast or ovarian cancers is advised.
In addition, in collaboration with the National Cancer Control Committee of Cameroon, I regularly participate in the organization of awareness campaigns and screening and management campaigns for cervical and breast cancers in rural areas. I also participate in the reflection aimed at elaborating the national strategic plan for gynecological cancers control in my country.
As a clinical researcher, I have noticed that cervical cancer control strategies currently being promoted by WHO do not sufficiently take into account local demands and socio-cultural realities of developing countries. This has led me to get actively involved in research projects aimed at designing realistic and cost-effective strategies for cervical cancer screening and management that are suitable for resource-constrained settings, especially African countries. On the other hand, with the advent of vaccination against HPV, I have started collaborating with partner institutions including US National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), to work out how to contextualize vaccination approaches against HPV in Africa, in order to achieve maximum effectiveness while ensuring scale-up and sustainability of immunization programs.
Gini FlemingProfessor of Medicine, The University of Chicago Medical Center
IGCS Member since 1997
I became a medical oncologist because I found tumor biology and the development of new treatments for cancer fascinating. When I was hired, the gynecologic oncologists needed a medical oncology liaison to be able to join the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG), and I loved working with patients with these tumor types. I also see breast cancer patients. I see patients with breast cancer and gyn malignancies in clinic and work closely with our developmental therapeutics group; much of my practice is devoted to developing and running clinical trials, from early to late stage. I chair the elderly working group (devoted to improving therapy for older patients) in the NRG. I direct the protocol office for the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology.
Walter GotliebProfessor and Director of Surgical Oncology, McGill University - Jewish General Hospital
IGCS member since 1992.
I decided to pursue a career in gynecologic oncology because it is a specialty with a genuinely caring prolonged intimate human interaction, extending over multiple facets of state of the art medicine.
My day to day activities consist of a blend of providing care and teaching in the clinic, the ward and the OR, mixed with bench to bedside translational and clinical research, influencing and innovating the practice of our specialty in the present while placing the seeds for the future.
Surbhi GroverUniversity of Pennsylvania
IGCS Member since 2014
Since medical school, I was interested in a career in global health. As I learned more about oncology and my interests in global health developed further, gynecological radiation oncology seemed to be the right fit due to the heavy burden of cervical cancer globally.
Since completing my training in 2014, I have been based full time in Botswana, in southern Africa. My work here entails running the largest public clinical oncology department, and focusing my clinical and academic work on women's cancers-gynecological and breast. Along with my local colleagues, I developed gynecological multi-disciplinary tumor board that allows us to provide streamlined and evidence based care to women around the country. Through this clinic, we have been able to to minimize delays in care and also develop a follow up care pathway for women with gynecological cancers. We hope to emulate this model for others common cancers in Botswana as well such as head and neck and breast.
Thomas HerzogDeputy Director University of Cincinnati Cancer Center
IGCS Member for more than 10 years
I pursued a career in gynecologic oncology because I was attracted to the opportunity to help women when the need is greatest through surgery and adjuvant therapies while helping to unravel the causes and newest treatments of cancers.
I am lucky to be able to wear multiple hats that include the roles of clinician, researcher, clinical trialist, patient advocate, and administrator. Needless to say these disparate roles cause endless scheduling difficulties but keep me rewardingly busy without burnout in any one concentrated area. I feel that the other roles actually make me a better physician as I am able to see the emerging ‘big picture” to the benefit of my patients. Helping lead the IGCS has been extremely rewarding as this responsibility is a mechanism to pay back to our field and move the field forward not only in the USA but throughout the world.