Saujanya Karmacharya
Civil Service Hospital
Kathmandu, Nepal
Fellow of the IGCS Global Curriculum & Mentorship Program

Why did you decide to pursue a career in gyn oncology or what about it interested you?
Before joining the IGCS fellowship, I traveled the most rural parts of Nepal for cervical and breast cancer screenings and awareness programs. I realized how women in my country are deprived of the necessary health facilities and only have access to a few gynecologic oncologists amongst which most are working centrally. After learning that we are in need of qualified gynecologic oncologists to provide qualitative treatment, I decided to join the IGCS Global Curriculum & Mentorship Program.

Where did you complete your training? Or tell us about your background in gyn oncology.
I started my IGCS fellowship in January 2019 and became the first IGCS fellow in Southeast Asia.

Tell us about your work in women’s cancer: daily activities and/or special projects.
For the past seven years, I’ve worked with Cancer Care Nepal on screening and treatment for gynecological cancers. Currently, as an IGCS fellow at the Civil Service Hospital in Nepal, I’m involved in several cervical cancer screening and awareness programs.

Tell us about the person or people who have inspired you the most in your career.
In my career, my true inspiration has been my international mentor, Dr. Asima Mukhopadhyay. Her hard work and dedication in the field of gynecologic oncology inspires me. Every time she visits our site here in Nepal, we learn more from her and she encourages us to bring change to our practice. For example, with her initiation, we started holding regular multidisciplinary team meetings. Her vision for gyn oncology thrills me and encourages me to do more in the field.

What is the most rewarding part of your career?
The most rewarding part of my career is the relationships I develop with my patients. In their battle against cancer, I get to be a part of their hope.

What is the most beneficial resource or equipment you have access to at your training site?
The most beneficial resource that we have at the Civil Service Hospital is our multidisciplinary team. We learn so much from them and it is great to see how the team benefits the patients’ treatment journey in the best possible way.

What is one of the biggest challenges in gyn cancer care in your region? What resources are lacking?
The biggest challenges in gyn cancer care in Nepal is that people are ignorant of the disease and are often diagnosed late at advanced stages. Another major issue is the inability to access the proper resources and medical centers, as most of them are centrally located. Due to Nepal’s geographical landscape, many patients have difficulty getting to medical centers and sometimes don’t have access to the most basic health care facilities.

How long have you been a member and how did you become involved with IGCS?
I have been a part of IGCS since January 2019. I was their first fellow at the Nepal training site. My national mentor Dr. Jitendra Pariyar introduced and encouraged me to join. I am grateful to him for providing this opportunity and support.

Is there a story/example of a time you were especially proud of your involvement with IGCS?
I was a recipient of the Shingo Fujii Young Doctors Summit Grant at the 2019 IGCS Annual Global Meeting in Rio. I also did a poster presentation and case series of vulvar cancer. I met the faculties and fellows from other training sites and we shared our experiences. It was an incredible learning opportunity for us.

What does being a part of the IGCS Global Curriculum & Mentorship Program mean to you?
My career in gyn oncology started when I became an IGCS fellow. Being an IGCS fellow is the most important part of my life. Their support and encouragement inspires me to remain committed to this field forever.

Do you have any hobbies or is there an interesting fact about your life that you’d like to share?
My favorite hobby is exploring the different places of Nepal. I am lucky to learn about its geographical variation and diverse culture. These experiences help me gain confidence when dealing with them during my clinical practice.

What is a unique or fun fact about your country or community culture?
The unique part of my country is that it has mountains, hills and plain regions where you get to meet people of diverse culture. So, we get to celebrate throughout the entire year with different festivals.

Does your country/region have a traditional food or drink? Do you like it?
I belong to Newari culture and Newari cuisine is one of the most enjoyed food here. The most interesting part of Newari cuisine is that it’s served with home-made rice whisky, which adds excitement to your taste buds! Whenever people visit Nepal and try Newari cuisine, they enjoy it.