Teamwork combats bleomycin shortage | B.J. Rimel, MD
Two weeks ago my partner, Dr. Andrew Li, operated on a very young woman with a stage IV yolk sac tumor. We had discussed the chemotherapy regimen to give her and discussed the standard treatment of bleomycin, etoposide and cisplatin. Two days later we received and email from our pharmacy: “There is a national supply shortage of bleomycin. There is not enough drug at this hospital to start any new patients on regimens that contain this drug.”
Tweeting at the Meeting | B.J. Rimel, MD
Twitter is an online news and social media feed that uses brief posts (140 characters) to communicate and connect people with information. That little blue bird icon on the side of the news story you are reading or next to the online menu that you just looked up is your direct link to Twitter. The journalist who wrote the story and the chef who made the menu want you to share your thoughts about their content. So does the SGO!
First Impressions from the SGO Winter Meeting | B.J. Rimel, MD
Breckenridge, Colorado, was the site of this year’s SGO Winter Meeting on Feb. 20-22. A record-breaking 216 Society members attended despite of (or perhaps because of) the immense amount of fresh snow (over 280% of snowpack). I must confess that this was my first Winter Meeting. Not being a particularly athletic soul, racing downhill at high speed has never had much appeal. That said, I will be back next year. It’s a GREAT meeting.
End of GOG Marks a New Beginning | B.J. Rimel, MD
Last month I joined hundreds of gynecologic oncologists in making our yearly pilgrimage to San Diego, CA. For the past four decades, members of our subspecialty would assemble for the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) semi-annual meeting. The GOG has conducted the vast majority clinical trials in gynecologic cancer and the group is responsible for most of the treatment advances in these diseases over the last 45 years. Now, due to major changes in the way that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funds clinical trials, we are part of a larger group. We have joined up with the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) and the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) to create…wait for it…NRG Oncology.
Negotiating the pelvic exam | B.J. Rimel, MD
Lately, I’ve been hearing a great deal of negotiating in my office. Now that I’ve been in practice for two years, I’m getting to see some patients back for surveillance visits and unfortunately some for recurrence. Regardless of the reason for the visit the strategy is always the same: is there a way to avoid the pelvic exam portion of the visit? In an attempt to discuss the reasons why we, as gynecologic oncologists, perform what is inevitably an uncomfortable examination, I will answer the top 5 things said in my office after I say, “I’m going to step out now so you can undress.”
Travel Shots | B.J. Rimel, MD
My daughter loves to travel. She loves getting on an international flight and watching the flight staff go through their checklist. She is always the only one listening with rapt attention as the flight attendants describe the safety features of the jet and she will frequently pull out the safety card from the seat back pocket to review the exits and point out which one we should use. She loves getting off the plane in some new locale and trying the local food, especially the sweets. But she hates shots.
‘Research for her’ registry seeks increased female representation | B.J. Rimel, MD
Historically, relatively few women have participated in clinical research, and as a result, the medical science community has often ignored biological differences between men and women. In an effort to close this gap and study the risks associated with female cancers, the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, the S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center and the Cardio-Oncology Program have opened an online registry, research for her, to increase the number of women participating in cancer research studies. As the co-principal investigator of the research for her registry in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cedars-Sinai, I am hopeful that we can improve women’s involvement in clinical trials.
Changing Red to Black | B.J. Rimel, MD
Every day after clinic, I sit with my list of patients in front of the computer screen. I type in the login and the password that keeps changing every month. Entering each medical record number, I wait for the electronic medical record to load so I can view the results. In my deepest, most secret place in my heart I say a little prayer for black. Black numbers are good, inside the normal range. Red numbers are the computers way of alerting me that the value I’m expecting is outside of the normal range and something is not as I want it to be.
Full Disclosure | B.J. Rimel, MD
As a junior attending, teaching residents in clinic is one of the most frustrating and joyful experiences of my practice. Balancing the desire to educate with the ever present need to keep wait times down in a busy clinic leads me to sometimes cut off the protracted history-taking that residents inevitably perform, but I feel bad about it every time. The residents rotate onto the gynecologic oncology service for a few weeks at a time every year of their training, and with rare exceptions, our service is the only time that they will interact with gynecologic cancer patients during the residency.
Annual Meeting Coverage: ACS Lecturer Edward Partridge, MD | B.J. Rimel, MD
Edward E. Partridge, MD, Director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Comprehensive Cancer Center and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, was the invited American Cancer Society lecturer this year at the SGO Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer. His talk is clearly one of the highlights of this year’s very exciting meeting.