SGO Issues Nov 15, 2018

SGO Issues Nov. 15, 2018

N.E.D. band honored at Race to End Women’s Cancer Weekend
With Gratitude and Thanksgiving | SGO Wellness Task Force
Review Seek a Specialist profiles
Apply for FWC 2018-2019 Fellow-in-Training Awards and Research Prizes
Patient-focused webinar on paclitaxel/carboplatin
HPV cancers focus of Gyn Onc Symposium at NRG Oncology

N.E.D. band honored at Race to End Women’s Cancer Weekend

Nimesh Nagarsheth, MD, with his three-year-old daughter, Alina.

More than 1,200 people participated in the 9th Foundation for Women’s Cancer’s National Race to End Women’s Cancer in Washington, DC, on Nov. 4. To date, the race has generated more than $390,000 in revenue, with donations being accepted through Dec. 31. There’s still time to show your support by donating now to the SGO & Friends Team. SGO & Friends was the largest team this year with 85 members. The top surgeon runner for the 5K was Stephanie Blank, MD, from Mount Sinai Chelsea in New York, NY. Crossing the finish line first for the SGO & Friends Team for the 1 mile route was Dr. Nagarsheth of Icahn School of Medicine in New York, NY, and his three-year-old daughter Alina. The night before the Race, Dr. Nagarsheth accepted the FWC Public Service Award on behalf of the band No Evidence of Disease (N.E.D.).

N.E.D. is comprised of five gynecologic oncologists from around the country. In addition to Dr. Nagarsheth, the current lineup is John Boggess, MD, from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, NC; Joanie Hope, MD, from Providence Alaska Cancer Center in Anchorage, AK; Robert Burger, MD, from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA; and William Winter, MD, from Compass Oncology in Vancouver, WA, and Portland, OR. Former members of the band included William “Rusty” Robinson, MD, from the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, and John Soper, MD, from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

N.E.D. first came together as a cover band performing at the 2008 SGO Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer in Tampa, FL. Over the years, the band recorded and performed original music while developing a following amongst gynecologic cancer survivors and the general public. A documentary film about the band, “No Evidence of Disease,” has been screened around the country since it was released in 2015 and has also aired on the PBS World channel. The film has an estimated viewership of 230 million views and has been used as an awareness tool for gynecologic cancers.

Over the past ten years, N.E.D. has played 75 live shows to a total of more than 44,000 fans. The band has also helped raise over $1.5 million for charities including the FWC. N.E.D. has three original albums available on iTunes, Spotify, and other music steaming services. In 2018 the band released a single, “Life as It Was,” featuring Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) that was well-received in the music industry.

“We really want to thank the Foundation and we thank the SGO for thinking about us and we’re thrilled to have received this award,” said Dr. Nagarsheth. “It does give us the recognition that helps us feel validated by what we’re doing because we started this at a very grassroots level.

“As band members we really want to thank our families because it’s been good for us to have such a supportive environment to allow us to do what we do,” Nagarsheth added.

With Gratitude and Thanksgiving | SGO Wellness Task Force

Ready or not, the holiday season is upon us. And while it is traditionally a time of giving thanks, many of us will be on call. Some of us will miss family dinner and holiday traditions, and undoubtedly all of us at some point in our career, have felt guilt over gratitude on Thanksgiving (or any) Day, as we ask our loved ones to sacrifice for the career we have chosen. Here’s the thing that is easy to forget – our loved ones are proud of us and the work we do.

In this special Thanksgiving edition of the SGO Wellness blog, we hear from a daughter and two husbands of SGO members about life with a gynecologic oncologist in the family. We share these with you in gratitude this holiday season, in recognition of your dedication and in appreciation for you and your families. On behalf of the SGO Wellness Task Force, thank you for all that you do. The following are presented with the permission of both the author and the SGO member.

Sean David, MD, SM, D.Phil, spouse of Shannon MacLaughlan David, MD

Sean David, MD, SM, D.Phil, and Shannon MacLaughlan David, MD.

I met Shannon when she was straight out of her residency, and was about to start her gyn onc fellowship. As our relationship grew, I was struck by the insane hours she worked—up before dawn and home after dark, then back to the OR at 2:00 a.m. for emergency surgeries. There have been sacrifices and challenges for us, including two years on opposite coasts so Shannon could finish her fellowship, before we were married. But we are all enriched by her dedication to her patients. If anything, I regret her feelings of guilt for the times she is pulled away from family events to do her job; but it was never an imposition on us. It’s about family. We just love, admire, and miss her in those times; and there will be open arms and turkey sandwiches in the fridge for her after any Thanksgiving she misses.

Despite the heartbreaks that come with treating cancer patients and time away from family, she never loses her focus or her humanity. She has the equanimity to go from the OR to the theater, change from scrubs to a ballroom gown in the car, or from sharing laughter and tears with patients to bringing groceries to homeless families or blankets and water to families displaced by wildfires. Her heart bleeds for those who suffer, but there is an overflowing well of love leftover for us, her family and friends. Character. Grit. Beauty. Grace. That is my wife.

Jose M Torrealba, spouse of Trevor Tejada-Berges, MD, MSc, FRCPSC, FACOG, FRANZCOG

Trevor Tejada-Berges, MD, MSc, FRCPSC, FACOG, FRANZCOG, and Jose M Torrealba.

Trevor and I began dating before he began medical school and well before he even thought of becoming a gynecologic oncologist. Having now lived with him for over 22 years has made me appreciate the little treasures life provides us on a daily basis. Through his experience caring for patients with cancer, and the stories he is able to share, I realize how fortunate I have been to be spending my life with such a giving, caring and generous man. And while this does, at times, mean we need to make sacrifices, it also implies that I am somehow contributing to support his efforts to save a woman’s life or improve her wellbeing. That is a great privilege I would otherwise never have experienced. The work of an oncologist confronts us directly with our mortality and reminds us daily that we are not here forever. As a result, we have learned to value every minute we can spend together immensely, making our bond and relationship stronger, real and, remarkably, fun. I feel absolutely blessed to have Trevor be part of my life, and thankful to life for allowing me to share his path.

Jessie Duska, daughter of Linda Duska, MD

Linda Duska, MD, and her daughter Jesse.

Cancer took over my mom’s life (and the lives of our entire family) – but unlike the way it affects a patient. It consumed her time, her thoughts, and most importantly in my younger self’s mind, the attention she gave me. I resented my mom’s “stupid” job for most of my childhood. Maybe I was being dramatic, but it seemed rational at the time. She obviously didn’t mind waking up in the middle of the night to go into the hospital or being home alone on Christmas in case she needs to take care of a patient.

I have seen my mom upset from a patient passing, passed out on the couch with her favorite child (the dog) from a long day, and working extra hours on weekends “off.” What I failed to see for a long time was why. Why she worked twice as hard as any other parent I knew; why she kept going back and trying her hardest just to face defeat and sadness; why she had missed my super important 5th grade graduation.

One day I was rummaging through her phone like any normal, nosy child and found a picture of her patients. These smiling women—survivors—were the reason my mom has stared cancer in the face every day for the past 25 years.

I realized it was stupid to get upset with her over a missed soccer game. She was helping people in a way that most others could not. She sacrificed her life, her sanity, her time, AND my graduation. She has attacked cancer with scalpel, robot, chemotherapy, and her mind a thousand times over. She’s crazy and–crazy passionate–about fighting to find a cure. I guess she’s rubbed off on me a little.

Review Seek a Specialist profiles

Attention Full, Candidate, Associate, International and Allied members, Please take a moment to review your Seek A Specialist profile on the SGO website. This information is updated quarterly on the site. Any changes, updates or corrections should be sent to

Apply for FWC 2018-2019 Fellow-in-Training Awards and Research Prizes

The deadline to apply for the Foundation for Women’s Cancer (FWC) 2018-2019 Fellow-in-Training Awards and Research Prizes is Monday, Nov. 26. Applications are still open for the following awards and prizes: Ovarinnovate: Ovarcome Research Excellence Award; FWC/Norma Livingston Ovarian Cancer Foundation Excellence in Ovarian Cancer Research Prize in Honor of Ronald D. Alvarez, MD: Perlman Family CCARE Lynch Syndrome Research Prize; Nina Donnelley and The Dickens Fund of the Donnelley Foundation Young Investigator Award in Honor of Laurel W. Rice, MD.

Patient-focused webinar on paclitaxel/carboplatin

The Foundation for Women’s Cancer (FWC) hosted a webinar on Oct. 24 titled, You Got This: Getting Prepared for Paclitaxel/Carboplatin Chemotherapy. This patient-focused webinar covered how these chemotherapy drugs work; what to expect on the first day of treatment and their progress; tips and strategies to help prepare for chemotherapy treatment; and the onset and duration of side effects, and when to call their doctor. Speakers included Judith A. Smith, PharmD, BCOP, CPHQ, FCCP, FISOPP; Rebecca A. Brooks, MD and Kim Hurley—an ovarian cancer survivor whose paclitaxel/carboplatin chemotherapy treatment lasted for seven months. This webinar download can be shared with patients.

HPV cancers focus of Gyn Onc Symposium at NRG Oncology

Registration is open for the Winter 2019 GOG Foundation, Inc. Educational Symposium, “HPV Related Cancer: Biology, Treatment, and Innovative Approaches” scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at the NRG Oncology Semiannual Meeting Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, AZ. The Program Co-Chairs are Quynh-Thu Le, MD, Charles A. Leath, III, MD, Ritu Salani, MD. The presentations will be focused on updates in HPV related malignancies. Special emphasis will be placed upon understanding molecular changes in these tumors and potential targeting of these changes, the role of immunotherapy in HPV related malignancies as well as a focus on patient outcomes and potential prognostic implications of current knowledge.