Rock Band of Gynecologic Oncologists Connects with Patients Through Music

A rock band made up of gynecologic oncologists is connecting with patients and their fans through rock music.
“No evidence of disease.”

This simple phrase may not mean much to the average person, but for oncologists and the patients they treat, it’s cause for celebration.

The phrase, often abbreviated as N.E.D., is commonly written on a patient’s chart to signify that he or she has achieved remission.

It is also the name of a unique rock band made up of six gynecologic oncology surgeons, who have raised over $500,000, been the subject of an award-winning documentary and released three studio albums of original music—all to spread awareness of cervical, ovarian, uterine/endometrial, vaginal, vulvar and other gynecologic cancers.

“A lot of our patients feel they are overshadowed by the sister cancer, breast cancer, which gets so much attention,” said William Winter, M.D., gynecologic oncologist at Compass Oncology, and a guitarist for N.E.D. “We want to be their voice; we want to amplify them.”

Becoming N.E.D.

The group began in 2008, when Winter and Nimesh Nagarsheth, M.D., a gynecological oncologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center and Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, were approached by G. Larry Maxwell, M.D., a mutual friend of theirs and a leader in their field, to put together a musical show for the upcoming Society of Gynecologic Oncology meeting. Excited by the idea, Winter and Nagarsheth, who plays the drums, reached out to a few friends and colleagues who also played instruments, and quickly formed a band. After a day of rehearsal together, the newly formed group performed a two-hour set of cover songs at the event. The concert went better than expected, said Nagarsheth.

“We played and had a great time, and we basically brought down the house,” he said.

Word of the group’s success quickly spread, and soon they were invited to play at numerous industry conferences across the country. Then, an unexpected invitation came from political leaders asking them to perform in Washington D.C. as part of a gynecologic cancer awareness event the following year.

“They suggested to us that it would be a great way to promote women’s gynecologic awareness,” said Nagarsheth. “We liked that idea, but we thought that going to Washington D.C. and playing cover songs would be kind of silly.”

So the group began writing original songs, working together on lyrics and music, despite living all across the country. Soon they had created and perfected six songs, inspired by their own experiences as gynecological oncologists, and were ready to perform in Washington D.C. It was a big accomplishment, but the musician-doctors had even bigger dreams—recording an album to raise money and spread awareness of their cause.

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