Read Time: 2 minutes
Author: Sachin Apte, MD, MS, MBA
Hang on tight! Your journey may be turbulent and unpredictable, but we are ready to guide, lend a helping hand, and shine a light when it's dark. This won't be easy. I cannot walk in your shoes or know what you are thinking. But, I will try to help.
As oncologists, we often speak in probabilities, trade-offs, risks, and benefits. I imagine that can be frustrating—or even insensitive and dehumanizing. But, I know you are not a statistic. You may be a mother, grandmother, daughter, or sister with a full life outside this exam room, infusion chair, or radiation vault. I try not to forget that.
As a gynecologic oncologist, I treat those who nurture and care. For my patients and their families, that must be very difficult. Many times, you are the one who wiped away a child's tears. You made sure everyone was fed and taken care of—even at your own expense. But now, the caregiver needs care.
Prior to medical school, I had no idea the sub-specialty of gynecologic oncology even existed. I recall the day, as a third-year medical student, when I figured out exactly what I wanted to do with my career. I never looked back.
What drew me in? It's simple: the patients. Remarkable individuals, demonstrating a strength, resilience, and grace I didn't know people were capable of. It's inspiring to witness these women harness immense energy to fight a formidable foe.
Gynecologic cancers vary widely in treatment and prognosis. While some are eradicated with modern therapies, others are not. Although many gynecologic cancers remain incurable, I can assure you that today's pace of scientific discovery and drug development is astonishing. While breakthroughs don't happen as fast as we need, the speed of progress is rapidly accelerating. Much remains to be discovered, but I am energized working alongside my research and clinical colleagues as we strive to learn how to improve every day.
As the patient, know that you are what pushes us forward to work smarter and discover solutions. Thank you for the inspiration and motivation. We are here to help. You, in turn, drive us to innovate, discover, and improve. Together, we help the next patient. I am grateful to be part of this team that provides hope to you and for those who follow.
Sachin Apte, MD, MS, MBA