ESMO: Tell us a bit about your career so far
Matteo: I got my medical degree at the University of Genova (Italy) in July 2010. Afterwards, I completed my 5-year medical oncology training at the National Cancer Institute (Policlinico San Martino) in Genova (Italy) in 2016. Thanks to the support of the ESMO Translational Research Fellowship, I then moved to the Institut Jules Bordet in Brussels (Belgium) to conduct my PhD project at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (U.L.B.).
I am mainly focused in the care of breast cancer patients and I am deeply devoted to breast cancer research. My particular area of expertise is in the management of breast cancer in young women focusing on the fertility and pregnancy issues that patients have to face after their diagnosis. During my medical oncology training, I had the opportunity to work and collaborate with several national and international leading experts in the field at the Institut Jules Bordet (Brussels, Belgium), the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Boston, United States of America) and the Jefferson University (Philadelphia, United States of America). These experiences have played a crucial role in deepening my skills in the management of breast cancer.
I am part of the scientific board of clinical recommendations on fertility preservation in cancer patients for ESMO, the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) and the Italian Association of Medical Oncology (AIOM). My most important research conducted so far in this area was under the supervision of Prof. Lucia Del Mastro. It addressed the role of administering gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists during chemotherapy as a strategy to preserve ovarian function and fertility in early breast cancer young patients who are candidates to cytotoxic therapy.
What is your current activity?
After finalizing my PhD project at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (U.L.B.) that aimed to improve the understanding of many controversial aspects relating to the issues of fertility and pregnancy in young breast cancer patients, I moved back to my home Institution. Hence, I am currently working as adjunct professor and consultant in medical oncology at the Policlinico San Martino – University of Genova in Genova (Italy).
What motivates you?
I’m very passionate and enthusiastic about my work and the ultimate goal of all my efforts is to further improve the care and quality of life of young cancer survivors as well as to properly mentor the next generation of medical oncologists training at my current Institution.
Why did you choose to become a medical oncologist?
As many other colleagues in the field, while I was a medical student, I had to face the terrible experience of advanced cancer in an extremely important family member, my mother. This experience has marked my personal life but has also guided my professional choices. Hence, I had to become a medical oncologist.
What does your involvement with ESMO and the Young Oncologists Committee (YOC) mean to you?
I’m extremely grateful to ESMO for all the opportunities that were given to me in the past (in terms of both fellowships and travel grants to attend amazing educational conferences), as well as for the more recent chance to conduct the PhD in my field of interest with known leading experts. I hope that the great privilege to become a member of the ESMO YOC would give me the chance to “pay back” and serve our Society to support its multiple projects and initiatives. It is very important to have YOs voicing their needs and ensuring that ESMO efforts are shaped to fulfill these needs. Furthermore, this would be also a great opportunity to expand my professional network to collaborate in future research projects at a European level with other young colleagues and under the supervision of the major ESMO leaders in cancer research with the final goal to further improve the management of our patients.
Do you have some good advice you would like to share with your international colleagues?
ESMO has represented a cornerstone in my career development: thanks to its educational events and fellowship program, I have had the opportunity to improve my research skills, to expand my network of international collaborators and, above all, to work abroad for a while in a leading European cancer centre. To all the young colleagues that are motivated and passionate about our work as I am, I invite you to join ESMO and take advantage of the vast amount of educational opportunities and fellowship programs available to our members.