Throughout the past few months, as sarcoma scholars, we have had a brief glimpse into the world of sarcoma through various opportunities we otherwise would not have been able to experience if not for the Rein in Sarcoma Foundation’s sarcoma scholar program. Through participation in the Red Flags of Sarcoma Education Program, we have learned how to educate ourselves and other healthcare providers about the warning signs of sarcoma and approach any lump or bump with the utmost clinical vigilance. The Party in the Park and Rein in Sarcoma Fall Fundraiser were tremendous opportunities to learn more about sarcoma from patients and their families. These experiences and interactions within the sarcoma community have inspired us to contribute to the field ourselves. However, in order to make the most meaningful contribution, some learning was in order, and on a recent October evening, we were asked to pack our bags and head to Sarcoma Boot Camp.
The five Sarcoma Scholars, Dr. Scott Okuno, Dr. Christian Ogilvie, Dr. Kathryn Dusenbery and Pete and Sue Wyckoff met Dr. Timothy McKone in Northfield at the Mayo Clinic Radiation Oncology Clinic. We first toured the facility and saw the impressive machines used for imaging tumors and delivering targeted radiation to various types of cancer. From Dr. McKone, we learned some of the basics of how radiation is delivered to tumors in a highly precise way. We also learned about the tremendous degree of collaboration that occurs between radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, surgeons, and other physicians to coordinate the best possible care for each individual patient. Dr. Okuno then introduced us to the ever-advancing ways that medical oncology can be used to specifically target sarcoma cells. Dr. Ogilvie and Dr. Dusenbery concluded with discussions about the different subtypes of sarcoma and how to recognize and diagnose sarcoma in its earliest stages. As future providers, we learned invaluable information about how to work-up seemingly insignificant lumps, bumps, and masses in order to catch sarcoma when it can be treated most effectively.
By definition, a boot camp is a short, intensive, and rigorous course of training. While we are not done expanding our knowledge on the topic of sarcoma, the boot camp provided us with a necessary knowledge base in order to succeed in the future. At the end of the night we were filled with an abundance of new knowledge, not to mention some delicious Basil’s Pizza. Our goal is to take this knowledge and disseminate it among our classmates and future colleagues, and also use it in our own future careers – wherever we may end up. We are fortunate to have been given such an incredible opportunity through the Rein in Sarcoma Foundation and are determined to advance the Foundation’s mission of increasing awareness and increasing survivors.