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September 1986

Surgical Oncology in University Departments of Surgery in the United States

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Surgical Oncology and the Massey Cancer Center (Dr Lawrence) and the Department of Biostatistics (Drs Keefe and Kilpatrick), Medical College of Virginia, Richmond; the Division of Surgical Oncology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston (Dr Wilson); and the Department of Surgery and Comprehensive Cancer Center, Duke University, Durham, NC (Dr Shingleton).

Arch Surg. 1986;121(9):1088-1093. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1986.01400090120022

• Data on surgical oncology and multidisciplinary cancer program activity were obtained from 124 of 126 university surgery departments in the United States. Most of these institutions have American College of Surgeons—approved cancer programs (84%) as well as divisions of medical (95%), radiation (94%), pediatric (76%), and gynecologic (79%) oncology. Only 47 departments (38%) have formal divisions of surgical oncology. There are no major staffing or activity differences in surgical departments with or without such divisions, but multidisciplinary cancer program activity is greater in those institutions with a surgical oncology focus. Peer-reviewed cancer research grants are more frequent in departments of surgery with a surgical oncology division (68% vs 47%). The activities of the existing 47 divisions of surgical oncology are mainly operative, with breast cancer, melanoma, and soft-tissue sarcomas being the major clinical responsibilities. Chemotherapy is also frequent (81%). Cancer education for undergraduate and postgraduate surgical trainees is a major responsibility of most divisions, but only a small proportion (28%) have postresidency surgical oncology training programs. In contrast to the growth of some oncologic specialties, the establishment of surgical oncology within university departments has been slow, and the manpower needs appear modest.

(Arch Surg 1986;121:1088-1093)