...why choose a Surgical Oncologist 

Surgical Oncologists spend an additional 2-3 years following the completion of their 5-6 year general surgery residency in one of 14 special training programs in the United states.  During this additional time, they refine their surgical techniques with nationally respected surgeons, develop advanced surgical techniques, study with nationally respected physicians in medical oncology, radiation oncology and pathology.  They also work in basic and clinical sciences.  The number of years of training for a surgical oncologist is far longer than any other cancer specialist.  This advanced training allows the surgical oncologist to integrate the wide variety of cancer therapies into the best approach for any given individual patient.

Some individuals call themselves "surgical oncologist" but have never completed a fellowship approved by the Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO).  To be clear, you should ask your surgeon where he/she completed their fellowship. 

The SSO is an organization that promotes high quality cancer care.  Belonging to this society does not imply that the person completed a fellowship in surgical oncology.  If you have any reservations about your physicians, get a second opinion prior to any surgery.

Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer: Do Specialists Make a Difference? Annals of Surgical Oncology 10:606-615, 2003.

 

In every aspect of healthcare, specialization makes a difference. 

This phenomena is not exclusive to healthcare. 

bulletAdditional training,
bulletincreased number of procedures,
bulleta better understanding of the disease process,
bulletconstant communication with leaders in the field

                     ...all contribute to an overall better outcome. 

Below are some of the articles in the medical
literature that review these principles as they
relate to cancer surgery.

Colon Cancer


Influence of Surgical Subspecialty Training on In-Hospital Mortality for Gastrectomy and Colectomy Patients. Annals of Surgery 238:629-639, 2003

 

Breast cancer: do specialists make a difference?
Skinner KA, Helsper JT, Deapen D, Ye W, Sposto R.
Ann Surg Oncol. 2003 Jul;10(6):606-15.


Breast cancer: specialists do make a difference.
Copeland EM 3rd.
Ann Surg Oncol. 2003 Jul;10(6):589-90. No abstract available.


Do specialists do it better? The impact of specialization on the processes and outcomes of care for cancer patients.
Grilli R, Minozzi S, Tinazzi A, Labianca R, Sheldon TA, Liberati A.
Ann Oncol. 1998 Apr;9(4):365-74. Review.

 

Gastric Cancer


Influence of Surgical Subspecialty Training on In-Hospital Mortality for Gastrectomy and Colectomy Patients. Annals of Surgery 238:629-639, 2003

Routine follow up of breast cancer in primary care. Follow up by non-specialists should not be encouraged.
Rainsbury D.
BMJ. 1996 Dec 14;313(7071):1547. No abstract available.


The surgeon as a prognostic factor in the management of pancreatic cancer.
Saettler EB, Temple WJ.
Surg Oncol Clin N Am. 2000 Jan;9(1):133-42, viii. Review.


The surgeon's role in outcome in contemporary breast cancer.
Cady B, Falkenberry SS, Chung MA.
Surg Oncol Clin N Am. 2000 Jan;9(1):119-32, viii. Review.


Influence of surgery on outcomes in gastric cancer.
Hartgrink HH, Bonenkamp HJ, van de Velde CJ.
Surg Oncol Clin N Am. 2000 Jan;9(1):97-117, vii-viii. Review.


Quality of cancer surgery: challenges and controversies.
Giacomantonio CA, Temple WJ.
Surg Oncol Clin N Am. 2000 Jan;9(1):51-60, vii. Review.


The German experience: the surgeon as a prognostic factor in colon and rectal cancer surgery.
Hermanek P, Mansmann U, Staimmer DS, Riedl S, Hermanek P.
Surg Oncol Clin N Am. 2000 Jan;9(1):33-49, vi.


Outcome after resection of a solid tumor: volume, specialization, or both?
Taylor I.
Surg Oncol Clin N Am. 2000 Jan;9(1):27-32, vi.


Quality of follow-up of the cancer patient affecting outcome.
Taylor I.
Surg Oncol Clin N Am. 2000 Jan;9(1):21-5, vi. Review.


The surgeon as a prognostic factor in endocrine surgical diseases.
Pasieka JL.
Surg Oncol Clin N Am. 2000 Jan;9(1):13-20, v-vi. Review.