Winette van der Graaf
Since 2018 I have been working as an internist oncologist at the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek and the Netherlands Cancer Institute where I conduct research as a group leader in the field of sarcomas and Adolescents and Young adults (“AYA”). In my work as an internist oncologist I focus on the drug treatment of patients with sarcomas, GIST and desmoid (fibromatosis).
I also see people, who are often already cancer patients themselves, who have a hereditary predisposition to getting cancer through a germline TP 53 mutation (the so-called Li Fraumeni Syndrome). The AVL is the central place in the Netherlands for screening these risk families.
Before coming to the AVL, I worked in other academic institutes in the Netherlands and London UK. First at the UMCG in Groningen, until I left for Nijmegen in 2007, where I worked as professor of translational oncology and later also as head of department at Radboudumc. From 2015-2018 I broadened my horizons by working at the renowned Royal Marsden Hospital and the Institute of Cancer Research in London. It was inspiring and educational to work in a different research and (hospital) culture with international experts. It has also resulted in an expansion of international contacts and joint studies.
In addition to oncologist within the sarcoma team, I am further expanding the AYA care in the AVL with a very enthusiastic team. At a national level I am active as chairman of the national AYA care network and as project leader of an infrastructural research COMPRAYA.
I am also administratively active within the the board of the European Organisation for research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) and the Connective Tissue Oncology Society (CTOS) and I am chairman of the Dutch Sarcoma Group. Only through (inter) national collaboration can we gain a better understanding of all the different subgroups of sarcomas out there and their best treatment. I am happy to contribute to that. With research we always try to get a step further in unraveling this complicated matter.
My ambitions tie in well with those of the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek and the NKI in their pursuit of high-quality care and research that improves patient outcomes in terms of both quality of life and survival. The medical and nursing specialists work closely together within the sarcoma team. I find the mutual accessibility of the contact stimulating and pleasant, especially with complex treatments that require chemotherapy or another form of treatment with medicines in addition to surgery and radiation. After all, looking for the best treatment for the individual patient together is the most important challenge we face every day.