I am grateful for the trust and faith you have bestowed in me as the incoming President of this Association.I would also like to congratulate the incoming members of the new executive committee. I am sure that our team will work synergistically and set our goals to keep AGOI on a path of continued growth and progress.Let me take this opportunity to acknowledge the wonderfulwork done by the previous committee.
Having spent 36 years in the field of gynecologic oncology and over 26 years in the association I would like to share some thoughts.The specialty of gynecologic oncology has seen amazing changes and advancement in the field. Advances in technology have resulted in availability of more sophisticated equipment and instruments covering a wide range of applications from robotics to pocket colposcopes. Genetic and molecular testing has changed the landscape of preventive as well as therapeutic management. HPV testing, HPV vaccines, genetic and molecular profiling of tumors and targeted therapy are examples of this. A better understanding of the disease has led to modifications in staging for some tumors, refinements in surgical approach and more appropriate utilization of adjuvant treatment modalities.
The quality of clinical work in our country has also tremendously improved over the last two decades. The numberof papers published in international journals as well as papers presented in international conferences has been steadily increasing. Latest technology like robotic surgery, genetic and molecular studies, and innovative modalities like sentinel node mapping, HIPEC, PIPEC, targeted therapyetc have been incorporated into management protocols at various centers. It would be now worthwhile to plan multicenter trials and generate reliable data to define optimal care for our patients. The ongoing process of formulation of treatment guidelines by the association should be fast tracked so that patient care can be standardized across the country.
The landscape of gynecologic oncology in our country has also shown a progressive change. In the early days there were only a handful of dedicated gynecologic oncology centers whereas a large part of the surgical management was being done by surgeons.With the establishment of dedicated MCh and newly instituted DNB along with various fellowship courses a steady stream of qualified and competent gynecologic oncologists will be available to serve the community. AGOI has also updated its fellowship guidelines and has begun a more objective assessment of centers offering these fellowships. The association should also encourage more academic activities focused on fellows and trainees so that they are better prepared for their examinations.
It is very heartening to see a steady growth of the state chapters and hopefully more and more states will form their chapters. The state chapters are an important link between the gynecologic oncologists and the general obstetrician and gynecologists who are usually the initial point of contact for the patients. In addition to community screening activities the state chapters have a vital role in increasing awareness amongst initial care providers which would help in early detection and appropriate referral of patients with gynecologic cancers. It is also important that the state chapters impress upon the local health universities to set up gynecologic oncology units in medical colleges. This would lead to more widespread availability of trained physicians and training facilities.
The journal of the association has achieved amazing recognition and has become an important source of information as well as a platform for showcasing clinical research. This has been possible due to the relentless efforts put in by the editor and the editorial board. Our annual conferences and CME programs have had an excellent participation by renowned international and national faculty. These match international conferences in content and conduct, the recent conference in Vellore was a shining example of this.
In conclusion the thrust areas shouldbe:
Treatment- Formulation of guidelines and initiation of clinical trials
Screening/prevention- Work towards WHO cervical cancer eliminationgoals
The journey to progress cannotbe made alone as leaders but through the support and engagement of all individuals in the association.
Wishing the AGOI community a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year
- Best regards,
- Vijay Ahuja
- President, AGOI