ESMO: Tell us a bit about your career so far
Akif: I graduated from Marmara University School of Medicine in 2003 and got my internist degree in 2009 from the same school. During my internal medicine residency I was interested in the palliative care of cancer patients and basics of clinical research. I started my medical oncology residency in August 2009 in Istanbul University, Cerrahpasa School of Medicine. My interest in clinical research brought me to positions of being the co-investigator of several phase III trials that were going on in Cerrahpasa. I had the opportunity for a short visit to the MD Anderson Cancer Centre (Houston, Texas) at the Breast Medical Oncology Department in 2011 to observe the clinical care of breast cancer patients.
What is your current activity?
After becoming a medical oncologist in 2012, I have been working in Hatay Antakya State Hospital as a specialist since November 2012 to complete my compulsory state work. I treat various malignant conditions however my primary areas of scientific interest are GU (particularly prostate) and breast cancers.
Any future plans in terms of training and evolvement?
In short term I want to participate in basic / translational research activities (preferably within a well-organised and scheduled programme) which I think would give valuable insight about the contemporary understanding of parts of the biology of a particular cancer. With the help of this, I hope to be a clinician-researcher dealing with one or limited types of cancers in the longer term.
Why did you choose to become a medical oncologist?
I believe that the search of the unknown, which is often seen in cancer, is a main motivator not only for me but also for many young people – this is what brought us towards oncology.
What does your involvement with ESMO and the Young Oncologists Committee (YOC) meanto you?
I think ESMO, to the best of its ability, tries to cover the needs of all young medical oncologists. For those enthusiastic about building a career made up of learning and searching, ESMO as well as YOC is an excellent starting point providing various professional networking opportunities. It’s my great pleasure, and a lovely source of anxiety because of the responsibilities that it will bring, to be a part of this very active, productive and dynamic community.
Do you have some good advice you would like to share with your international colleagues?
What drives you? Know what you want, draw a career path that is compatible with your life expectations. Look for (ESMO) opportunities that fit best to realise your goals. Enrich your professional network - and have fun.