Surgical oncologists are highly specialized physicians who are able of providing surgical treatments for all types of cancers - these surgeons are trained to carefully remove tumors or malignant tissues.

Watch an Overview of Surgical Oncology

About Surgical Oncology

Surgical oncologists are physicians who undergo residency training in the area of general surgery before completing more advanced fellowship training in the areas of oncology and surgical oncology. These physicians are specifically trained in the diagnosis, treatment and long-term management of malignant diseases affecting a wide range of organs and systems. These specialized surgeons are capable of providing treatment options for cancers at any stage, and have experience in the multidisciplinary management of these diseases.

When providing patients with surgical oncological care, these specialists will first review the patient’s medical and family histories, in addition to any previous tests or evaluations other providers have conducted. The surgical oncologist may also order additional diagnostic tests or evaluations and speak with the patient’s previous or other providers in order to craft a personalized, effective treatment plan. After precisely diagnosing and locating the malignancy, the surgeon is able to explain the patient’s treatment options.

Depending upon the type and stage of cancer, how far it has spread, and the patient’s physiological makeup, the surgical oncologist will decide how to stop the advancement of the disease through surgical intervention. In some cases, the surgeon may only have to remove the tumor and a minor amount of surrounding tissue. In other cases, the cancer is more advanced, and the surgeon will have to perform an operation to remove a major amount of surrounding tissue that has been affected by the cancer. The goal of a surgical oncologist is to remove only as much tissue as necessary to safely and effectively halt the advancement or spread of the disease.

Surgical Oncology Education & Training

Pursuers of an occupation in the field of surgical oncology obligated to receive a bachelor’s degree from a four year college with courses focusing on premedical studies, chemistry or biology. Graduation from an accredited medical university with a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic (DO) degree.

Immediately following two years of laboratory study and research and two years of first hand hospital experience, and graduation from a medical school, a prospective surgical oncologist must typically complete a five year general surgery residency in which further surgical techniques and experience is obtained. Once a residency is finished, a two year oncology fellowship at a recognized hospital or cancer center supplements the physician’s surgical knowledge with research and study along with hands on patient care to gain valuable experience.

To obtain a medical license, a surgical oncologist must pass a three part examination (which is administered in medical school, during a residency and immediate following the completion of a oncology fellowship) which assesses a physician’s knowledge and application of surgical oncology techniques. Further education is available for surgical oncologists who wish to concentrate on a specific area of their medical field with accredited conferences and advanced courses taking place on a regular basis.