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Doubling down on the future of gynecologic oncology: The SGO future of the profession summit report

Journal Articles
May 11, 2023

The article “Doubling down on the future of gynecologic oncology: The SGO future of the profession summit report” published in the April issue of Gynecologic Oncology examines the scientific advances made over the last fifty years and considers how gynecologic oncologists can reshape the original vision to optimize care for patients with gynecologic cancer in today’s medical landscape.

The Future of the Profession Summit was an opportunity for a diverse group of members to discuss the past and present of the profession and collaborate on actionable steps to further the mission of providing comprehensive care to patients with gynecologic cancers.

Patient-centered, longitudinal, and comprehensive are words Stephanie Blank, MD, Director of Gynecologic Oncology for the Mount Sinai Health System and former president of the Society, would use to describe gynecologic oncology practice now. “We need to put our heads together and decide what we want for our specialty— not for ourselves individually, but what we want for the specialty. What do we need to do to ensure our patients still get the highest quality care? There will not be a one size fits all approach. There will be multiple ways to practice gynecologic oncology,” she elaborates.

Making certain to acknowledge that everyone won’t share the same opinions about the future of the profession, Dr. Blank suggests a collaborative approach to defining which elements of practice are most essential to preserve. Similarly, Warner K. Huh, MD, Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, views this pivotal moment as an opportunity to collectively decide on a shared path for the profession. “The field of gynecologic oncology has been markedly changing over the past decade, but were we really paying attention as a profession?” Dr. Huh reflects. “Were we all driving those changes or letting others drive those changes? What can we do to ensure that we continue the field of gynecologic oncology the way many of our members believe it should be practiced for the next 20 years?”

Amongst those changes, the profession has seen an increase in benign surgeries and what Drs. Blank and Huh have called “mission creep.” So how do we address this issue? As stated in the manuscript, “We can decide to proactively define our field and set our limits, or we can embrace the change and become gynecologic oncologist/advanced pelvic surgeons.” In any case, now is certainly the time to build the future we envision and want for the profession of gynecologic oncology. This work will require the collaboration of SGO members, and we foresee many opportunities for member input and discussion to secure the future of the profession.