Bishal Gyawali: My New Column on 'Common Sense in Oncology'

Bishal Gyawali, MD, PhD


April 05, 2019

Dear Medscape readers, friends, and colleagues: I'm writing a new column for Medscape Oncology and I'd like to introduce myself. I'm Bishal Gyawali, though friends call me BG or Bish. (And I also go as @oncology_bg on Twitter.) I am a medical oncologist from Nepal who trained in Japan, did his research fellowship in the United States, and is now working in Canada.

Bishal Gyawali, MD, PhD

A new column in Medscape doesn't sound very novel or refreshing. After all, Medscape Oncology is filled with columns from people with wiser thoughts and richer experiences than I've had. And I'm not sure that a new column sounds very novel or refreshing to me either, as I have been publishing my thoughts regularly for the past few years via multiple columns, social media outlets, videos, and interviews.

Also, both your time and mine is in short supply.

So do I really want to spend my time writing and ask you to spend your time reading a new column on Medscape? Yes, absolutely! Let me explain why.

It became clear to me that the unifying theme connecting all of my work was 'Common Sense in Oncology.

I used to have a hard time replying when someone asked me what my particular research focus was. I did quite a bit of work related to global oncology, regulatory science and cancer policy, supportive care including financial toxicity, adverse events and quality of life, as well as research trying to answer clinical questions.

Once, when invited to give a grand rounds talk to discuss the various projects I was working on, I thought about a unifying theme that connected all of these different research dots I was working on out of my personal interest and passion (despite having no funding). As I was preparing my slides, suddenly it became clear to me that the unifying theme connecting all of my work is "Common Sense in Oncology." It also became clear to me that this is what I want to do in my career: launch a center for sense in oncology.

However, as I started talking and writing about this for a global audience, I became aware that what I thought was common sense wasn't very common after all, and probably my experience witnessing cancer care in different countries had provided me with a different lens through which to look at things. Indeed, I now have firsthand experience of cancer care in four different countries. All of these global experiences have taught me valuable lessons and allowed me to look at a given problem from different viewpoints. These experiences and insights are what I hope to share in my Medscape column, "Common Sense in Oncology."

That's what I believe makes this column refreshing and new. That's why I'm inviting you to read my column and share your feedback, knowing how busy you already are.

Finally, I may also use this platform to occasionally share insights and tips about some specific issues that are of interest to early-career medical oncologists, such as the use of social media and its impact on one's career; navigating and making the best use of big oncology meetings; finding collaborators in research; and insider insights on publishing/reviewing/editing papers at top journals.

Please feel free to suggest topics you'd like discussed in these columns and consider it to be as much yours as it is mine. As oncologists, we are all involved in a process of mutual learning, and I look forward to learning useful—as well as sensible—new approaches to cancer care together.

Most important, life is short, our careers are fleeting, and success without happiness is futile. So let's not forget to have fun in this journey! Cheers!

Follow Dr Gyawali on Twitter @oncology_bg

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