Winette van der Graaf
I started working at the Netherlands Cancer Institute as a medical oncologist in 2018, where I medically treat patients with sarcomas, GISTs, and desmoid tumors (fibromatosis). I also lead a research group currently studying sarcomas and adolescents and young adults ("AYA").
I also see people, often cancer patients themselves, with a hereditary genetic predisposition to cancer due to a germline TP53 mutation (also known as the Li-Fraumeni Syndrome). The NKI is the central location for at-risk family screenings.
Before I started at the NKI, I worked for several academic research institutes in the Netherlands and the UK. I initially started my career at the UMCG in Groningen, and then moved to Nijmegen in 2007 to work as a professor of translational oncology, and later as head of department at the Radboudumc. I am still connected to this university as a professor. Between 2015 and 2018, I expanded my field by taking up a position at the Royal Marsden Hospital and the Institute of Cancer Research, both located in London. It was very inspiring and educational to be able to work in a research and medical environment with international experts in the field. My time there also opened doors to international collaborative studies and contacts.
Alongside my work as a medical oncologist in the sarcoma team, I work on expanding the AYA care at the NKI together with an incredibly enthusiastic team. I head the national AYA care network in the Netherlands and work as a project leader for the infrastructural research project COMPRAYA.
I am also on the board of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) and Connective Tissue Oncology Society (CTOS), and head the Dutch Sarcoma Group. Through (inter)national cooperation, we can gain a better understanding of all different sarcoma subtypes and the best way to treat them, and that is something I aim for. Our research aims to unravel these complex matters, one step at a time.
My own ambitions align perfectly with those of the Netherlands Cancer Institute. We both strive towards excellent care and research that can improve our patients' quality of life and survivorship. Our medical and nursing specialists at the sarcoma team closely collaborate with each other. The ease of out contact is encouraging and motivating, especially when we are dealing with complex treatments involving chemotherapy or other medical treatment in combination with surgery or radiation therapy. We aim to find the best possible treatment type for all out patients together, that is the main challenge we face here every day.