Cancer Surgery: A Young Doctor’s Perspective

Note by Dr Suraj Manjunath: This is a guest post by Dr Sapna Mallikarjun. Dr Sapna recently completed her medical training and had a short posting of two weeks in our Department of Surgical Oncology. Apart from being an enthusiastic and committed doctor, Dr Sapna is also a budding author. In this post, she presents her experience of working in surgical oncology.

As a new medical graduate, it was a significant milestone of my emerging career when I had a short posting in the Department of Onco Surgery at Manipal Hospitals, Miller’s Road (formerly Vikram Hospital).

Being a medicine lover and enthusiast, I felt more inspired to work in medical departments than surgical ones. So, when I was assigned a surgical posting, it was rather challenging for me, and I asked myself if I was really ready to work with cancer patients requiring surgery.

When I walked into the surgical oncology OPD, the first question I asked my mentor Dr Suraj Manjunath was, “Sir, I have never considered working in a surgical department. This is very new to me. Is it really OK for me to take on this role?”

His only reply was, “Patient CARE and PRIORITY come first in any medical or surgical field. Everything else can be learned.”

This gave me the motivation to go ahead.

I was glad I took the opportunity to serve on this platform. Not only did I receive valuable exposure to cancer surgery but the barrier I had felt towards surgical specialties also dissolved.

Feeling grateful for my brief learning experience, a heartfelt message I would like to share with cancer patients is –

“You and your concerns matter to us.  You come first, even before the disease. You matter.”

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