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Interview with the EYSAC Steering Committee Chair 21/02/2018

Dr. Karol Polom (Siena, Italy)

Karol Polom was born in Gniezno, Poland in 1981. He finished Medical University in Poznan in 2006. In 2008 he started training in surgery in Wielkopolska Cancer Centre in Poznan, Poland where he has finished with the title of specialist in general surgery in 2014. In 2010 he defended his PhD thesis on core needle biopsy in suspected breast lesions and sentinel node biopsy in DCIS of the breast. His surgical and scientific training was advanced at Keio University, Tokyo, Japan, supported by a 2009 ESSO fellowship. From 2015 he was granted the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Scholarship and holds a position of assistant in General Surgery and Surgical Oncology Department, University of Siena, Italy. He recently started surgical oncology training at the Medical University of Gdansk, Poland. Karol joined ESSO in 2008 and from 2012 he has been a Steering Committee member of the ESSO Young Surgeons Alumni Club (EYSAC). Karol became EYSAC Chair in 2016.


Why did you apply to become a member of EYSAC and what motivated you to take a more active role and become firstly a member of the EYSAC Steering Committee and then, consequently, the Chair?

Initially I was looking for other young people passionate about improving training and networking among young surgeons. I was seeking an interesting opportunity and connection with people thinking the same way that I do, the progression followed naturally.


What does it mean for you to become a leader in Surgical Oncology?

It is about creating possibilities for your co-workers and peers, to encourage them to improve. Young surgeon leaders are the future of the profession, leadership skills that can take surgical careers and patient care to the next level.


What are your career ambitions? In which direction do you plan to orient your future career?

I intend to find a way to improve my skills and help peer surgical oncologists, so that more and more patients can be helped in the future. I also love my time in the OP theater where with my skills I can help to the patients. The rest (titles and positions) will come naturally!


In 2009 you had the opportunity to benefit from an ESSO fellowship and did some of your surgical and scientific training at Keio University (Tokyo, Japan). How would you describe this experience?

It was an amazing experience, which really changed the way I was thinking about different approaches to surgical oncology. Japan was a huge cultural experience and I made nice collaborations and friendships there. We can learn a lot from them and vice versa. This is an example of what we can offer to EYSAC members!


Are you part of any special course/fellowship for young professionals?

I enrolled in the School of Peritoneal Surface Oncology (2016 – 2018) and was involved in the organisation of the ESSO-EYSAC Hands on Course on Colorectal Cancer Surgery in Ljubljana (SI), 25th to 27th January 2018.


As Chair, what were your priorities for EYSAC?

Strengthening the achievements of my predecessor, Dr. Duveken Fontein;

  • Increasing Social Media activity through our Facebook, LinkedIn Group, YouTube and Twitter - EYSAC works closely with the new Communications Committee to share messages effectively
  • Expanding our research activities via our CORSiCA, GoSafe and Young 4 Young (Y4Y) projects as well as supporting young colleagues through the EYSAC Research Fellowship - most recently we selected Dr Bertolli (Brazil) to go to the National Cancer Institute, Amsterdam (NL) to conduct research on Melanoma.
  • Developing EYSAC workshops - this year we produced a successful Hands-on Course on Pancreatic (pictured right) with two more on Liver and Abdominal Surgery still to come. We are in the process of planning future hands-on topics (potentially covering Thyroid Surgery, Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgery and Pelvic Exenteration).

We have recently introduced EYSAC National Representatives which aim to foster closer communication with young surgeons across the world by acting as a bridge between ESSO and young surgeons within their country.

EYSAC also has a Steering Committe - so there is a team of enthusiastic young surgeons that work together on the different tasks of EYSAC.


Where do you see EYSAC in 5 years?

As a network of young surgeons with the power to improve surgical, clinical and research knowledge. I hope for EYSAC to become the most important platform and source of information for young sugeons to discover fellowships, courses and other opportunities.

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