Winner of the 2015 'Best Student' Award, Gianluca Arrichiello from Naples, Italy, talks about his reasons for applying to join the course and what he has gained from taking part.
What was your main reason for applying to join the course?
I guess it was the possibility of interacting with foreign fellow students and faculty – something that undergraduates are not offered so often during their course of study.
Then again every student must eventually pick a subspecialty, this is even more true for those who are thinking about a career in medical oncology, a field already so vast and destined to expand in the years to come.
This is why I was really looking forward to challenging myself with different topics through lessons led by specialists at the top of their field.
What was your take home message from the five days?
If I ever had any doubt about picking medical oncology as a future career, that doubt is now gone. Some of the lectures were incredibly inspiring and we all had a terrific experience, not only education-wise.
I had the opportunity to meet amazing people, whom I very much hope will be future colleagues. I had a great time in Valencia thanks to the hospitality of both the faculty and the organizers of the course. I would most certainly recommend this experience to every medical student considering oncology as a field of work.
Why are you interested in medical oncology?
For several reasons. First, a practical one: oncology is an expanding field, destined to grow exponentially in the years to come; the need for young oncologists is growing as well and I look forward to making a contribution to this rapidly advancing discipline.
Medical oncology is also an opportunity to be an all-round doctor, assisting the patient in every aspect of their disease; and in a world where specialisation is key, not many doctors are given this opportunity.
Last but not least, I was always fascinated by several aspects of cancer biology. The ability of cancer to constantly adapt and exploit the very same mechanisms that allow human beings to live and grow is as incredible as the "desperate" will to survive that cancer opposes. It behaves almost as if it were a personified opponent, which, in fact, I can't wait to battle.
How do you feel about having a professional society, such as ESMO, supporting you in professional development?
Again, medical oncology, and medicine in general have made huge leaps ahead in the last couple of decades. We are being fed with new information literally every day, so it's fundamental to have a strong support of a professional society in both education and clinical practice, in order for us to be better students now and better doctors in the near future.