Dr. Emese Zsiros: Researching and riding for cancer cures
Dr. Emese Zsiros’ work at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center has two main facets: treating women with cancer and researching to find the next cure. As the Chair of the Department of Gynecological Oncology, her passion stretches from the clinic to the community.
Riding to end cancer.
Dr. Zsiros came to Roswell Park in 2014, and Ride for Roswell was one of the first fundraising events she participated in as a team member.
“At that time, I only had one daughter. She was four years old. It was a huge honor and really emotional to be able to participate in the Celebration of Hope, to be able to walk with our patients in the procession, to be able to raise money and awareness of gynecologic cancers, but also to able to show my daughter what Mommy and Daddy are doing.”
Dr. Zsiros’ husband, Dr. Gyorgy Paragh, is also a physician at Roswell Park. He serves as the Chair of the Department of Dermatology. During that first Ride Weekend as a family, Dr. Zsiros says their daughter could sense the love and gratitude from the patients.
“Just seeing the enthusiasm of the crowd cheering for the cancer patients, cheering for the Peloton riders, cheering for the physicians as you’re walking through the procession, I remember it really left a big mark on her.”
Nine years later, they have four children – all of whom will be riding this summer and walking in the procession at the Celebration of Hope.
“I have twin boys, and they typically walk with my husband’s team. Our two girls will be walking with me and the gynecology patients, representing women.”
Full spectrum of care.
Cancer care is not one-size-fits-all, and Dr. Zsiros prides herself on really getting to know the women she serves.
“We walk the path together, from the time of diagnosis, the surgery, all the chemotherapies until their cancer journey is through.”
It’s because of those relationships that Dr. Zsiros is even more motivated to discover new breakthroughs that can improve and extend life.
“My research focuses on ovarian cancer research and immunotherapy. I think this is a deadly disease that typically doesn’t get a lot of attention. Part of that is because it affects women, but a minority of women,” Dr. Zsiros explained. “When the mother falls ill, it tends to affect the entire family due to her common role as the primary caregiver. This type of research not only assists our patients directly but also has a broader impact, often benefiting multiple generations under the familial umbrella she heads.”
Staff members with the Department of Gynecological Oncology stand by those families every day at Roswell Park, but they also come together to show their support during Ride Weekend.
Since Dr. Zsiros became chair of the department, she has encouraged the entire gynecology staff to get involved with Ride for Roswell. Last year, they even had special shirts made for their team.
“The entire gynecologic oncology team came together as a cohesive unit, providing an invaluable experience for our team members. This momentous occasion allowed us to connect with this community and the Roswell family deeply, transcending our regular daily work routines.”
Her message to other Roswell Park employees considering signing up: “Don’t think about it twice, because it is so much fun!”
Fun and fulfilling. From raising critical funds for cancer research, to pushing yourself physically while riding, Ride Weekend is something Dr. Zsiros and hundreds of other riders look forward to all season long.
“Last year I took on a longer route and it was challenging. The heat was intense, and navigating through it was strenuous. But I felt so accomplished and so happy by the end of the day that I did something meaningful. I really wouldn’t have given up that opportunity for anything else.”
She explained that Ride for Roswell showcases what it means to be a part of the Roswell Park community.
“We are really in this together: health care providers, patients, researchers and family members.”