Dr. Pierre Greeff: A surgical oncologist differs from a general surgeon in several ways. Number one, we have a similarity in that all surgical oncologists are trained general surgeons, but it’s the additional treatment it’s the training that is received which usually takes about two years in addition to the training for general surgery, and that includes both research, includes advanced methods of surgery to treat serious cancers. It also includes a good understanding of what the other forms of anti-cancer treatments offer such as chemotherapy, we have to have a working knowledge of chemotherapy and how it can apply and how it can integrate with surgery.
The other is also to have a working knowledge of radiation therapy, one of the other major groups of treatments for cancers. It’s important that the surgical oncologists not only know how to do surgery but that he also knows what the other treatment modalities, the other therapeutic agencies can offer.
Dr. Steven Standiford: A surgical oncologist is originally trained as a general surgeon and then goes on and does at least two additional years of sub-specialty training just in the management of patients with cancer using surgery. It isn’t just the operations that are done to treat cancer, but it’s the whole approach to the cancer patient and how surgery can play a part in that management.