Members of the Surgical Oncology Section have a special interest in cancer surgery. Formed in 1999, it represents the interests of surgeons treating cancer.
The role of surgery in cancer care is often perceived in the broader medical community, health services, government agencies and the general public as that of a technical exercise carried out by well-trained and skilled technicians as directed by others when, in most cases the surgeon is pivotal in the decision making for, and management of, cancer patients.
Surgeons are often the leaders of multidisciplinary teams – and more often than not, the first specialist to see a patient after the diagnosis of cancer has been made. Surgeons also innovate and research to improve cancer outcomes. The Section’s vision is to represent, support and advance cancer surgery and cancer surgeons in Australia and New Zealand.
What is Surgical Oncology?
Surgical Oncology is the practice of surgery in the context of cancer care.
What is a Surgical Oncologist?
A surgical oncologist is a surgeon who is involved in cancer care through clinical practice, research, advocacy and education.
A surgical oncologist should have:
- a deep understanding of the epidemiology, pathophysiology, anatomy, diagnosis and treatment of the cancers they treat
- an awareness of the knowledge, roles and skills of the other health professionals involved in cancer care
- the highest level of technical skill to ensure the best possible outcomes
- the communication skills to successfully relate to patients, colleagues, the community and health funders
- the desire to innovate and research to improve cancer outcomes and;
- the desire to improve themselves, the facilities and the systems through involvement in quality assurance and reflective practice.
The Surgical Oncology program at the ASC is coordinated by a local convener appointed by the Section committee. The ASC program generally has two components:
- Unique tumour types not belonging to any other subspecialty – This can include melanoma, non-melanoma skin cancer, sarcoma and other soft tissue tumours
- Tumour types managed by defined sub-specialties but ideally managed and studied in a multidisciplinary fashion - Where there is cross-over between specialty sub-groups relating to cancer management, this is reflected in the programming.
Education and training
The Section aims to collaborate with established sub-specialty training programs and investigate undergraduate curriculum uniformity to ensure all graduates have adequate knowledge and understanding of surgical oncology.
Research and quality assurance
The Section aims to assist in the promotion and facilitation of research opportunities and internal and external collaborations with emphasis on data uniformity in reporting of pathology, interventions and outcomes. The Section can facilitate the use of data to advocate for change where necessary.
The Section aims to strengthen the relationships and collaborations with:
- Specialist surgical societies and sections within Australia and New Zealand
- International organisations such as the Society of Surgical Oncology, European Society of Surgical Oncology, British Association of Surgical Oncology and the Global Forum for Cancer Surgeons
- Non-surgical medical societies such as Clinical Oncology Society of Australia, Medical Oncology Group of Australia and TROG Cancer Research
- Non-surgical colleagues such as diagnostic and interventional radiology, pathology, molecular science, genetics, medical oncology and radiation oncology
- Medical Associations
- Consumer groups
- Private Health Funds and Hospitals.
The Section is governed by a Committee as per the Sections Terms of Reference (PDF 255.04KB) reporting to the RACS Fellowship Services Committee.
Committee Chair - Assoc Prof Michael Hughes FRACS
Surgical Oncology Section Secretariat
Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
250-290 Spring Street
East Melbourne VIC 3002 Australia
Telephone: +61 3 9276 7446
Fax: +61 3 9276 7432