Dr Gilles Blache and the opportunity to become a master of gynaecologic cancer surgery

Passionate about conquering challenges, Dr Gilles Blache – Head of Obstetrics & Gynaecology – FV Hospital, Breast Care Clinic – is one of the few professionals who has mastered the complex techniques such as laparoscopic gynecological cancer surgery, Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS), In-vitro fertilisation (IVF), etc.

Dr Gilles Blache – Head of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at FV Hospital

Become an expert in gynecological cancer surgery from the passion to conqueror challenges

More than half a century ago, the saying “A smart person is a doctor, someone with a good hand is a surgeon, and someone who is both unintelligent and unskilled is a obstetrician” was often teased by French medical students on the threshold of choosing a major. Of course, this is a joke, but it also partly shows that this specialty is not a priority choice of future doctors.

But with the suggestion from his supervisor, Gilles Blache – still a medical student at the time – discovered obstetrics and gynaecology to be a very broad specialty that combines; internal medicine – surgery and the diverse pathologies in women of different ages.  Unlike everyone’s jokes, the young man is full of passion for work that requires “half wisdom and half technique.”

This explains why the young doctor choose to major in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Medical University of Grenoble (France), after graduating from medical school at Lyon 1 University (France) in 1979. After that, he followed a continuous learning journey with an advanced degree in obstetrics and gynaecology at the Universidad Ordre des Medecins Saint Etienne (France) in 1989, a Master’s degree in Fetal and Fetal Development from the University of Paris V. (France) in 1989, a Master’s degree in Anatomy from Lyon I University (France) in 1992 and a series of other training courses such as Obstetrics and Gynaecology Ultrasound and Prenatal Diagnosis

Dr Gilles Blache said: “Today, Obstetrics and Gynaecology tends to be increasingly subdivided, divided into three main groups: obstetrics and gynaecology, prenatal diagnosis – maternal and child health care (medical treatment without surgical intervention, including IVF) and surgery. But in my day, an obstetrician and gynecologist had to learn and do everything.”

After graduating from university, he worked at Roanne Central Hospital (France), specialising in prenatal diagnosis. The important turning point in Blache’s career came quite by accident. When a gynecological oncologist was on sick leave, he was asked to fill the position. Gynecologic cancer surgery is a challenging job that not many doctors pursue. As an inquisitive and enthusiastic person who likes to conquer new challenges, Blache certainly did not give up this opportunity.

Dr Gilles Blache is considered one of the leading experts in gynecologic cancer surgery 

To develope himself for the new position, Dr Blache continued his studies and training, specialising in surgical techniques for gynecological oncology. He recalled “Instead of taking care of my family, raising children, I spend almost all of my time becoming a gynecologic cancer surgeon.” In compensation for his efforts are the results of his treatment, with minimally invasive surgeries, helping patients recover quickly.

The head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology – FV Hospital remembers  that “In those days, surgeons were almost an emperor, everyone aspired to become a surgeon. With cancer, the technique of the surgeon can also decide the life and death of the patient. I was young then, so the more difficult something is, the more I want to master it. But for now, I just want to make the problem as simple as possible for the patient.”

Fortunately, his wife is also a doctor specialising in obstetrics and gynaecology, so she always sympathises and encourages him,  later, their own daughter also became an obstetrician and gynecologist. Until now, even though they are half a world apart, the family still spends time talking to each other.

The doctor is devoted to his profession

Thanks to his “eagerness to learn” Blache is known as one of the few young doctors who can master complex obstetrics and gynaecology techniques such as laparoscopy, chorionic villus sampling, amniocentesis, and in-vitro fertilisation. During his time at Roanne Central Hospital, Dr. Gilles Blache successfully treated and operated on thousands of cases of breast cancer, uterine cancer and  infertility.

From 2015-2017, Dr Gilles Blache accepted the invitation to become Head of Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology – FV Hospital. He has significantly contributed to the development of services in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology such as breast and uterine cancer treatment by laparoscopic surgery, location and biopsy sentinel lymph nodes to determine metastasis by radioisotope, perform NIPT test in screening for fetal malformations etc. He was also one of the first doctors to bring conservative surgery in breast cancer treatment (without Mastectomy) to Vietnam – creating a unique service in the treatment of obstetric and gynecological cancers at the FV Hospital.

Dr Gilles Blache examines patients of FV Hospital

Patients at FV HospitalHosp, whether foreign or Vietnamese, feel secure and confident when they are examined and treated by Dr Gilles Blache. Ms Tran Thi Thuy Chi – coordinator of Obstetrics and Gynaecology – FV Hospital, and also an interpreter for doctors – said that she was very impressed with his kindness and understanding of patients. Despite always being busy, Dr Blache always spends a lot of time in each examination session to listen to patients’ confidants, especially to female patients with delicate conditions. Ms Thuy Chi said: “Before the end of the examination, Dr Blache always has a question for the patient: “Do you have any more questions?”

Actualising the new vision of the Obstetrics and Gynaecology at FV Hospital

At the end of 2022, Dr Gilles Blache decided to return to FV Hospital bringing with him decades of experience in the profession for which he still is full of energy for. He was pleased to see that the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has made rapid progress: Not only supplemented with modern equipment and improved rooms, the department also has a team of young doctors and nurses who are dedicated professionals that are full of enthusiasm for patients. Many complex laparoscopic surgery techniques that were previously almost exclusively performed by him are now available to many doctors.

When talking about returning to the role of head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, he excitedly said that he was collaborating with the Board of Directors to implement the project of establishing the Infertility Treatment Center. This is the area he proposed to develop at FV 6-7 years ago, but at that time, the conditions of equipment and staff were not suitable. Besides, in the role of Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, he continues to train the next generation for pre-natal diagnosis and especially cancer surgery. All these efforts are directed towards building a modern and full-service Obstetrics and Gynaecology Center for FV Hospital.

Dr Gilles Blache said that he’s training a new generation of gynaecologic cancer surgeons

With his valuable experience, he also actively trains the next generation, especially in the field of laparoscopic gynecological cancer surgery.

He said: “Young doctors often take a long time to become proficient in cancer surgery, so I continue to take charge now. But many doctors in the department expressed a desire to be able to master the techniques. I have been working and training with the hope that in the future, many young Vietnamese doctors can approach and implement it well”.

Dr Vo Trieu Dat, Deputy Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has worked with Gilles since 2015, said that he always considers Dr Blache as a teacher and father. Not only devoting all his effort and enthusiasm to medical examination and treatment, Dr. Blache also does not hesitate to train the younger generation of doctors like him.

Dr Dat said: “What makes me especially admire Dr. Blache is the way he talks and analyses problems, thereby showing the amount of knowledge and experience of a master. In communication with colleagues – even young doctors like me – I have never seen him criticise or scold, but always respect and guide enthusiastically. And one thing is for sure, the presence of Uncle Blache has strengthened and brought the obstetrics and gynaecology department to a new level”.