Jul 20, 2020
Geriatric oncologist and researcher in the Department of Geriatrics at the Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, Mexico City; ASCO Board of Directors member; member of the JCO Global Oncology Editorial Board, Care Delivery and Regulatory Policy Working Group, Diversity and Inclusivity Task Force, Technology Research Group, Social Media Working Group, Geriatric Oncology Advisory Panel, and Publishing Research Group; and three-time Conquer Cancer grant recipient.
What led you to oncology?
ES: In my second year in internal medicine training, I was assigned to the geriatrics ward at my institution. There, I took care of many older patients with cancer. I noticed that there was an enormous need for the creation of specialized services to provide care for those patients, as well as for research to generate evidence on how to treat them. I decided that I would specialize in oncology and then in geriatric oncology in order to develop a clinic at my institution, and that is what I ended up doing!
What career could you see yourself in if you weren’t an oncologist?
ES: I have always loved history, and I really enjoy writing, so I think I could see myself as a historian. Another passion of mine is cycling so I guess that professional cyclist could also be an option (if I had that kind of talent!).
What’s the last book you read? What did you think of it?
ES: The last book I read was The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. I really loved it since it gave me a different perspective of the nature of risk and of probability. I think it is a very timely book for the post-COVID-19 world.
What app or website do you check most often?
ES: I use WhatsApp for everything, from connecting with friends and family to interacting with my patients. During the pandemic, I have even used it to provide virtual consultations for my geriatric oncology clinic. I am also addicted to Twitter, and I enjoy sharing information about oncology with colleagues from all around the world. (Follow Dr. Soto on Twitter at @EnriqueSoto8).
What hobbies do you enjoy?
ES: I love sports. I’m on a soccer team (Mexico City FC) and we play every Saturday. I also love mountain biking, although it is hard to go biking in Mexico City. I also enjoy playing board games with my family; we particularly like German-style games, such as Carcassonne or Settlers of Catan.
What is your personal motto?
ES: I don’t think I have ever had one, but if I had to choose, it would be, “Fortune favors the bold.”
What do you think oncology will look like 10 years from today?
ES: I think that any prediction we make right now will likely be wrong. However, what I would love to see is a true change towards a more patient-centered approach, and away from a business-centric mentality. In this ever-changing landscape, we need to keep in mind that what fuels our progress is people, and that their benefit should be at the center of every single thing we do.
What would you say to a young physician who is thinking about entering the field of oncology?
ES: I would tell them not to hesitate. This is by far the best field in medicine, and you will love taking care of your patients every single day of your professional life.