MESSAGE

Shalini Rajaram
President, AGOI, 2019

It is an honour and privilege to serve the Association of Gynecologic Oncologists of India, for the year 2019, and I hope to do my best to further the ideals of this prestigious organisation. AGOI, only recently, completed 25 years of its inceptionand has grown from strength to strength not only in its membershipbut also in the quality of academic and intellectual contribution. One of the goals and missions of AGOI is to bring together gynaecologic oncologists and allied specialists from all over the country and internationally, meet on a regular basis, exchange ideas, practice evidence-based medicine and update our practices which change ever so fast. AGOI has gained recognition as a respected organisation with many of our members representing India in leadership positions all over the globe.

AGOI is tremendously proud of its journal ‘Indian Journal of Gynecologic Oncology’ published by Springer. The readership and contributions span nationally and internationally and is growing. The journal is indexed by most indexing authorities like citation index, Embase etc. Recently Scopus indexing was given within a span of one month which is unheard of, except, if the journal is of exceptional quality! Dr. SP Somashekhar, Chief editor, Dr.Amita Maheshwari, Hon. Secretary General, AGOI and the entire editorial team need applause for this achievement. The four year old baby will need tremendous nurturing, commitment and perseverance to reach the next milestone. So please continue contributing new research and other articles to IJGO and expand its impact across the globe.

As surgeons we must constantly endeavour to hone our skills and surgical abilities including adopting to changing technology. Comprehensive knowledge, especially anatomy, being meticulous, committed and disciplined are hall marks of a trusted surgeon. Surgery for cancers entails long hours in the OT so stamina building and putting personal life aside (at least on some days!) are part and parcel of being a gynae oncosurgeon. As important as it to know when to operate it is equally vital to know when not to operate and this is definitely an attribute of a grounded surgeon. AGOI in its mission to improve surgical skills, regularly conducts live, video and cadaver workshops and brings together the best in the field to mentor and guide budding gyn oncologists. The surgeon must also know his limitations and understand that he is not above tumour biology especially when dealing with advanced ovarian malignancy. While it is true that primary upfront surgery to R zero reduction is desirable it is not always possible, so recourse to best possible evidence- based practices must be applied in such situations.

Understanding molecular aspects and genetics of malignancy have become more and more important today to tailor treatment and we have definitely entered an era of ‘personalised medicine’. Genetic, molecular diagnostic,and testing for immune check-point inhibitors ingynecologic cancers have become important in the understanding of treatment. FDA has recently fast tracked the approval of ‘Pembrozulimab’ in the treatment of metastatic and advanced MMR deficient and MSI-H endometrial cancers where response rates of upto 40% lasting for more than six months are reported. So just like BRCA testing is indicated in epithelial ovarian cancers, MSI testing in all endometrial cancers is now recommended. Updating ourselves on a continuous basis is possible only through forums and exchange of knowledge. We have a very vibrant and active AGOI ‘Whatsapp’ group - a live platform for daily discussions, interactions and learning! I doubt there’s any other group which is as interactive and valuable as this.

The vision of AGOI to have its own super-specialty course came into being a few years back with the start of the MCH course and this year DNB has been recognised as an additional course. Understanding reproductive anatomy and physiology from adolescence to menopause in the setting of a gynecologic malignancy becomes crucial to the delivery of optimal care. We hope with more and more well trained gynecologiconcologists comprehensive patient care becomes ‘State-of-the -Art’.

Gynecologic cancers and breast cancers have increased considerably in the past few years and our responsibility will be to continuously raise awareness and educate the general population on the importance of a healthy lifestyle, screening and timely treatment. The government of India recommends screening for three cancers namely breast, cervical and oral cavity every five years.All cancer hospitals, institutions and every medical college should have a robust preventive oncology department to identify cancers early.We cannot sit back as long as cervical and breast cancers continue to present in advanced stages. Educational booklets, modules, presentations, awareness through digital and print media, billboards and innovative apps need to be prepared, endorsed by AGOI and widely disseminated.

AGOI will be circulating the calendar of events for the year and we will also try to update the website and post videos, presentations and updates.

May 2019 be an exciting year for AGOI and Gynecologic Oncology!

Best regards,
Shalini Rajaram

President, AGOI, 2019