My mother’s death from cancer, a couple of years ago now, was the worst experience of my own life. It played out over almost exactly six months (the median survival for her condition), during which time she was devitalised to a husk I barely recognised. The experience had profound effects on my immediate family, ripples of which lap at our lives still.
The drama of slow and inevitable death that cancer may bring will be familiar to many reading these words. Shock and disbelief, with plenty of anger at times. Denial. The trials of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. The clutching at straws.
I recently read the ambitious and sweeping ‘biography’ of cancer, The Emperor of All Maladies, by oncologist Siddartha Mukherjee. Every doctor who has any contact with patients affected by cancers should consider reading it. Through its pages, Dr Mukherjee traces the impact of cancer and its treatment from antiquity to the present day. It is a book of hope. I thoroughly recommend it.
Gynaecological cancers will reveal themselves in our clinical practice with some regularity, but unless our work is closely allied to oncology it can be difficult to keep pace with changes in their management.
In this issue of O&G Magazine, we have asked a group of experienced cancer specialists to share their insights with us. You will find reviews of most of the important cancers relevant to our specialty, with overviews of how we should approach and deal with them. This should provide an invaluable guide to managing the women whose care is entrusted to us. As always, the team here at O&G Magazine has striven to provide our readers with access to the best advice our colleagues in Australia and New Zealand can provide. In these pages you will find information on every aspect of gynaecological cancer care and, perhaps most importantly, optimism.
My own impressions of cancer are indelible. So many of those who read this will have had experiences similar to mine. My colleagues and I hope that you find this issue of O&G Magazine valuable in your practice. As always, we welcome and look forward to your thoughts and comments.