SGO Issues June 20, 2019
Fitness into a Specialty | J. Brian Szender, MD, MPH
June journal highlights 50th SGO Annual Meeting, 20 years of GOG clinical trials
New websites for SGO Annual Meeting, 50th anniversary
Two FWC education courses scheduled for fall 2019
SGO Women’s Cancer News now a daily bulletin for members
My residency graduation included the “yo-yo” awards. While this was actually short for “yo-yo, you got this,” whenever I see the plaque in my office now I can’t think help but about what an up-and-down ride my training was, both physically and emotionally. The physical rollercoaster is a major part of why I elected to join SGO’s Wellness Task Force. Between medical school, residency, and fellowship I managed to gain and lose more than 150 pounds, 20 to 30 pounds at a time. I suffered from the classic signs of poor fitness including:
- Excessive fatigue
- Dyspnea after walking up a flight of stairs
- High resting heart rate
- Prolonged recovery heart rate
- Reliance on caffeine or excessive sugar cravings
When I completed my fellowship and started into practice, one of the resolutions I made for myself was to stop this vicious cycle and take control of my health and fitness once and for all.
As a husband, father of four, and early career gynecological oncologist, my time is split (sometimes unevenly) between my wife, children, and my practice. Because there are only so many hours in a day and I cannot overcome the need for at least a few hours of sleep, there isn’t much time between rounds, robots, and rides home with the kids for a regularly scheduled fitness class or a trip to the gym.
I had to get creative with my time and find short intervals throughout the day to elevate my heart rate.
The most effective way I have been able to ensure that I get at least a little exercise in every day is to start from the first time my feet hit the floor when I get out of bed. Five exercises in five minutes helps start the day off on the correct path; no matter what other decisions I make or how little time I have between patients, the rest of the day can’t take away those first five minutes from me.
- The routine starts with a slow walking lunge across my bedroom. This stretches the legs and engages the muscles of the lower body.
- Next, perform 10 slow-count push-ups, taking five seconds to lower the body and one second to push back up.
- The third movement is supine leg raises, holding the feet off the floor about 6 inches for a five count, repeated for 10 repetitions.
- Return to the push-up position and plank for 60 seconds.
- Finally, 10 air squats and you can move on to start your day.
Micro-breaks for exercise can also be extremely useful, whether it is the decision to run up the stairs instead of taking the elevator or performing isometric leg lifts while writing notes, opportunities to exercise abound throughout the day for the gynecological oncologist.
Every location around the country is going to have different local resources for to incorporate fitness into your life, but there are some universally available resources that can help the busy physician reduce any guilt related to “time away from study” in their practice while exercising:
- SGO ConnectED – use the streaming audio/video of last year’s SGO meeting–especially the trainee sessions with seminal clinical trials–as the soundtrack for your workout. Nothing says “run faster” like listening to Dr. Kushner talk about ovarian cancer!
- Research to Practice – offers free podcasts across a range of oncology topics.
- YouTube – There are taped grand rounds, medical lectures, and chalkboard talks.
- Podcasts – Pearls of Exxcellence from the Foundation for Exxcellence in Women’s Health are available for download.
Finally, make sure that any of the above activities are performed with a goal in mind. Remember that you can’t care for your patients if you are too sick or fatigued to do so, but that you were also a person before you became an oncologist and one aim of fitness should be to help preserve that humanity. If you’ve never participated in an organized fitness activity before, consider signing up for a local 5k fun run. Get online, find a weekend that you’re not on call, pay the entry fee, and commit. The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) has 5k races throughout the country, find your local event at http://runwalk.ovarian.org. The National Race to End Women’s Cancer, hosted by SGO’s Foundation for Women’s Cancer, will be held Sunday, Nov. 3 in Washington, DC. https://endwomenscancer.org/
J. Brian Szender, MD, MPH, is a gynecologic oncologist at START Center for Cancer Care in San Antonio, TX.
Meeting Report: Highlights from the Society of Gynecologic Oncology’s 50th Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer Diana P. English, Marilyn Huang
Historical Perspective: Shaping the standard of care in ovarian cancer management: A review of Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG)/NRG Oncology clinical trials of the past twenty years Paul A. DiSilvestro
The SGO50.org website used to promote the 2019 SGO Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer in Honolulu, HI has now been converted into a site commemorating SGO’s 50th anniversary. The updated website includes highlights and photos from the 2019 Annual Meeting, decade-by-decade milestones for the Society, and SGO member reflections on various issues that impacted the subspecialty. New member reflections will be uploaded to website on a weekly basis through the end of 2019. For information on the 2020 SGO Annual Meeting in Toronto and future SGO Annual Meetings, please visit our new site, sgoannualmeeting.org. Additional content will be added closer to the opening of the Call for Abstracts on July 17 and when meeting registration and housing opens this fall.
The Foundation for Women’s Cancer (FWC) has two patient-focused gynecologic cancer education courses scheduled for this fall: A Sept. 7 course at the UMass Memorial Medical Center – University Campus in Worcester, MA, and the Nov. 2 course at the JW Marriott in Washington, DC, the day before the annual National Race to End Women’s Cancer. Registration is open for both courses and full schedules will be posted closer to the events. Visit the FWC website for any updates to the list of scheduled patient education courses conducted by SGO members and other experts in gynecologic oncology—and please share these courses with patients in those areas.
SGO’s Women’s Cancer News Daily officially launched on June 18. Women’s Cancer News Daily is an exclusive Society of Gynecologic Oncology membership benefit and is designed to keep you up-to-date on the most current news about gynecologic oncology from newspapers, TV, radio and medical journals. If you have not received this e-newsletter yet, check your spam folder and add SGODaily@sgo.bulletinhealthcare.com to your email address book. Gynecologic cancer patients, family and friends can subscribe to a free weekly version of Women’s Cancer News, provided by the Foundation for Women’s Cancer.