CAREER INFORMATION

What is an Oncologist?
An oncologist is a physician who specializes in the study, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer. There are different types of oncologists who treat distinct types of cancer in patients of varied ages. Oncologists explain the disease to patients and discuss the best treatment options. In their approach, they also consider the mental well-being of the patient. They work at hospitals, do research in laboratories, as well as teach. They team up with other health care professionals to diagnose and treat cancers. Theirs is a rapidly changing field.

Areas of Specialisation
• Clinical oncology
• Gynaecological oncology
• Medical oncology
• Haematology oncology
• Paediatric oncology
• Radiological oncology
• Surgical oncology

What do I need to study?
At CSEC and CAPE:
• Biology
• Chemistry
• Physics
• Mathematics

Pursue a degree in medicine, followed by a residency and fellowship in one of the areas of specialisation in oncology.

What skills and traits do I need?
• Sound clinical judgement and decision making
• Ability to work under emotional pressure
• Empathy
• Tact and diplomacy
• Team work

Famous Oncologists
Judah Folkman                     Dennis Slamon
Harold E. Varmus                 Elizabeth Blackburn
Robert Sagerman                 Janet Husband
Florence Chu                       Robert Lindberg

Fun Facts:

As a child, she spent a lot of time playing and exploring her environment.

She became well-known for her work in educating the public about cancer on her weekly radio programme.

Dr Anesa Ahamad is Trinidad and Tobago’s first female oncologist. She rose from a humble background to become a leading specialist in her homeland. Confident and compassionate, Dr Ahamad is dedicated to alleviating the pain and suffering of cancer patients. She is fervent about bringing to them the best treatment that is available around the world. She is a founding member of the Physician’s Advisory Cancer Team (PACT), a free service that gives cancer patients the opportunity to have their cases reviewed for treatment recommendations.

She also served as a consultant to the Trinidad and Tobago government on the establishment of a national oncology programme and the National Oncology Centre. This centre will offer chemotherapy and the latest radiation treatments to patients. The facility will be equipped to deal with more than 1,300 cases in the first year of its opening. This is important in a country like Trinidad and Tobago, where cancer is the second leading cause of illness and death. The centre will also cater for patients in the region.

She is a former Medical Chief of Staff at the Brian Lara Cancer Treatment Centre, and former Senior Lecturer in Haematology at the Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine.

Dr Ahamad was a visiting professor at The University of Manchester School of Dentistry and a lecturer at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Centre. She has collaborated with other scientists on studies for treating cancers, from which several treatment protocols were established. She has given presentations on her research and clinical experiences at many conferences, at home and abroad. She has authored several chapters in core textbooks on cancer, and has co-written many articles and abstracts in acclaimed journals. She is a reviewer for the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics and for CANCER: Interdisciplinary International Journal of the American Cancer Society. She is certified by The Royal College of Radiologists, London and the American Board of Radiology.

Anesa Ahamad was born in Couva, Trinidad. She grew up in a rural community as the daughter of a bus driver and a homemaker. Her parents had limited education but always encouraged and inspired their daughter to succeed in her studies and career goals. Her financial inability to study abroad was a blessing in disguise, since she considers that UWI gave her a solid foundation for success in her field. There, she fell in love with learning and often topped her classmates in subjects such as basic sciences, biochemistry, pathology and microbiology, psychiatry, and in the clinical examination. Most notably, she won both the Frank Doyle Medal (1998) and the Rohan Williams Medal (2000) from The Royal College of Radiologists of London.

Dr Ahamad encourages Caribbean people to be proud of their identity and to use their abilities to improve the lives of others in this region.

 

What institutions did she attend?

  • Freeport Presbyterian School, Trinidad

  • Holy Faith Convent, Couva, Trinidad

  • The University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine, Trinidad
    – BSc in Natural Sciences
    – Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)

  • The University of Manchester, England
    – MSc in Oncology

  • The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Centre, USA
    – Structured Post Residency Fellowship Training in Radiation Oncology

Other Achievements

  • Distinguished Alumni, UWI, 2008

  • The University of Manchester Prize for Outstanding Performance, MSc in Oncology, 1999

  • Recognition Award for Community Service, United Nations Systems / Government of Trinidad and Tobago, 1996

  • The Undergraduate Guild Alpha Omega Award (Most Outstanding All-round Student, Faculty of Medicine), UWI, 1993

  • The Commonwealth Scholarship Award for Undergraduates (Overseas Elective), UWI, 1992/1993

 

 

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