Liège to London: meeting Deborah Enting

Deborah Enting is a Consultant Medical Oncologist at the Cancer Centre at Guy’s, specialising in the treatment of urological cancers. She also has an interest in research and is collaborating on studies trying to understand the immune system’s involvement in bladder cancer.

Deborah has kindly given her time to answer a few questions about the challenge.

What time does your day start and what does that typically look like?

My typical working day starts at 8am. Most days are varied and include a combination of ward rounds, outpatient clinics, admin and managing patients who participate in clinical trials. I also meet up with colleagues in the research laboratory to discuss results from our scientific studies.

What are your main responsibilities?

My main responsibility is to provide medical care for patients with urological cancers, such as bladder, prostate, testicular and kidney cancers. Typically, these patients are receiving chemotherapy, immunotherapy or other treatments for cancer.

A number of my patients take part in clinical trials. Usually, these patients need close follow-up appointments to monitor potential side effects. I also supervise doctors in training and do research.

What made you decide to become a clinician-researcher?

My career in oncology started in 2007 as a junior doctor. I really enjoyed the fact that as an oncologist you establish strong relationships with patients, and apart from the clinical care we also provide pastoral support for patients and relatives. It has been amazing to see the impact of progress in cancer research on patients’ lives. I decided that I wanted to be part of this, therefore a career as an oncologist-researcher was perfect for me.

Can you share your most memorable moment as a researcher?

There are many! However, recently one of my patients whose cancer hadn’t responded to any treatment so far decided to take part in one of our clinical trials with a new drug. After only two treatment sessions his cancer had reduced by 90%. He also felt much better in himself too. Being able to share the CT scan results with him and his family was fantastic. It made his day and mine too.

What is the best part of your job?

It’s a privilege to support patients and their relatives throughout the darkest times in their lives. The best part of my day is when our patients receive the best care and feel supported by our fantastic team of nurses, pharmacists, research staff, doctors etc.

What is the hardest part of your job?

The hardest part is when we are not able to meet a patient’s expectation, and when our cancer treatments don’t have the desired outcomes. Despite the improvements over the years, cancer remains a very complex disease and not all tumours respond to treatments.

How do you relax after work?

Catching up with friends (many of whom I work with), enjoying good food together but also exercise. Before my cycling training, I used to run a lot. I‘ve swapped running for the bike now, at least temporarily.

Are you looking forward to the Liege to London Bike Ride?

Yes! I am quite competitive with myself, so I am keen to know whether I have done enough training and witness how my body and mind handle this challenge! I am also looking forward to spending time with all the friends who are joining us at this event. They have been invaluable in supporting this cause.

Why did you decide to do it?

Some of my colleagues at Guy’s Hospital participated in the bike ride from Land’s End to London in 2016. I was unable to join them at the time. It looked like a lot of fun, together with the opportunity to raise money for Guy’s Cancer at the same time, I couldn’t stay behind this time!

What is your training schedule like?

I don’t have a lot of time for training during the week, so most weekends are spent on the bike. I prefer to exercise early morning, so 6am starts on Saturdays and Sundays have been common. The roads are quiet then and being alone with the birds and other wildlife makes it very pleasant. I have tried to include a few hills in my training too, not sure whether I have done enough!

Are you already a keen cyclist?

I am a very keen long-distance runner. I have completed a number of marathons and ultra-marathons in the past. The switch from running shoes to a road bike has been challenging as different muscle groups are used. But I’m enjoying every minute of it!

How will you celebrate completing the ride?

Sharing some food and a drink with all the people who have supported us. After that, a massage!

The Liege to London Bike Ride is a 305-mile, three-day cycle between the Belgian City of Liege to Guy’s Hospital in London between 19 - 21 September 2019. The brainchild of cancer survivor Gary Saunders, the ride is a celebration of survivorship to raise funds for more vital research and treatment.

The team of 18 are a mix of cancer survivors, dedicated cancer professions, friends and family. Together, they will cycle challenging climbs like the Paterberg and ride past famous historic sites including the Menin Gate in Ypres and the beaches of Dunkirk.

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