Tell us a bit about your career so far
I received my MD with a scholarship for academic excellence from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece in 2006. During the following decade I completed a two-year master’s program on cancer biology and pathology as the valedictorian, a PhD on circulating tumour cells and my six-year residency in medical oncology at the University of Crete and affiliated University Hospital, Greece. In 2016 I was awarded the ESMO Georges Mathé fellowship in immuno-oncology and a stipend from the Hellenic Society of Medical Oncology which allowed me to continue my career at an international centre of excellence, Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm where I continue to work to this day.
What is your current activity?
Currently I’m a senior consultant physician in medical oncology at Karolinska University Hospital, where I exclusively treat patients with breast cancer. In addition, I’m supported by a separate grant from the Stockholm Region which provides me with 50% research time at Karolinska Institutet under the guidance of Professor Jonas Bergh. My research during my time at Karolinska has focused on the immune microenvironment of breast cancer and how it drives chemosensitivity, a project which was eventually awarded with the ESMO Best Fellowship award in 2018. My ongoing projects focus on the interplay between intratumoral heterogeneity and host response.
What motivates you?
There is nothing more motivating than the appreciation received from cancer patients and their families. This is my drive in the everyday struggle with cancer. The opportunity to teach younger colleagues, students and residents, is another large part of what motivates me.
Why did you choose to become a medical oncologist?
While still a medical student, I experienced through a member of my immediate family how devastating cancer can be. Since then, I’ve never had a single doubt in my mind that my mission in life is to help in whatever way I can in the fight against this horrible disease.
What does your involvement with ESMO and the Young Oncologists Committee (YOC) mean to you?
ESMO has played a crucial part in shaping my career: through the ESMO examination in 2015 which bolstered my self-confidence when I received the third best score and encouraged me to further pursue a career abroad; the aforementioned fellowship in 2016; the MCCR workshop in 2017 where I participated as an ESMO ambassador and was trained in the conduct of clinical research; the Leaders Generation Program 2019 which provided me with valuable communication and leadership skills as I transition to more senior roles; and now, the YOC membership which enables me to interact with brilliant young colleagues from all over Europe and will hopefully help me strengthen ESMO’s visibility and activity in Sweden.
Do you have some good advice you would like to share with your international colleagues?
I cannot overemphasize the importance of good communication with patients, collaboration with colleagues and international networking. Regarding the latter, ESMO can help you immensely and further your career development. It’s simply a matter of daring to take the crucial step of joining ESMO and pursuing every opportunity it has to offer, whether it is fellowship programs or educational activities.