Alan Yahanda, MD, FACS


Alan Yahanda - Chair, CTCA Department of Surgery

It is my job as a physician to ensure that the patient receives an accurate diagnostic evaluation. Then it becomes the job of both the physician and the patient to use that information to jointly develop a treatment plan that is in harmony with the patient’s personal goals.

About Alan

Dr. Alan Yahanda has more than 20 years of experience as a surgeon and virtually a lifetime desire to work in the field. Dr. Yahanda knew before the first grade that he wanted to be a surgeon and never wavered from that goal. Today, he is Chair of the Department of Surgery for Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) and Chief of Staff at CTCA® Atlanta in Newnan, Georgia.

He joined CTCA in January 2014 after practicing in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the University of Michigan Medical Center and The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Dr. Yahanda is board-certified in General Surgery with a specialty certification in Surgical Oncology. He is a Fellow with the American College of Surgeons.

While Dr. Yahanda practices general surgical oncology, he has a particular interest in cancers of the pancreas, bile ducts and stomach. He initially planned to work in pediatric surgery but changed his mind during his residency when he spent time on the gastrointestinal surgical service at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Dr. Yahanda earned his Doctor of Medicine from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in 1985. He then completed his internship and residency at The Johns Hopkins Hospital Department of Surgery between 1985 and 1991. During that time, he was the Robert Garrett Research Fellow in the hospital’s Division of Pediatric Surgery from 1988 and 1989. He also received surgical training in 1989 at the John Radcliffe Hospital, which is affiliated with Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

Also at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Dr. Yahanda was the Chief Resident in the Department of Surgery from 1990 to 1991, then the Assistant Chief of Service from 1991 to 1992. He then completed a three-year surgical oncology fellowship at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston between 1992 and 1995. During his fellowship, Dr. Yahanda received the MD Anderson Clinical Trainee Research Award in 1993.

“I have been at a number of different hospitals over the years, many of them world-class institutions.  The CTCA difference is apparent the moment one walks into the front door of the hospital. It’s a warm and calming environment with friendly and caring people. There is a sense that everyone works as a team to make their patient’s lives better,” says Dr. Yahanda. 

“There is also the commitment from the administrative leadership to devote whatever resources are available to improve patient care. The philosophy is that if a new program or technology will help patients, then the resources will be made available. This is such a refreshing attitude,” he says.

“I was totally captivated by the operations and the ability to impact a patient’s life in a very positive way,” says Dr. Yahanda. “Furthermore, I was fascinated by cancer biology and cancer genetics and wanted to conduct research in these areas.”

Dr. Yahanda’s research has been published in more than 20 peer-reviewed journal, including:

  •  “Computed tomography in staging of patients with melanoma metastatic to the regional nodes” in Annals of Surgical Oncology (1997)
  •  “Multidisciplinary management of perihilar bile duct cancer” in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons (2001)
  • “Mitotic rate and younger age are predictors of sentinel lymph node positivity: Lessons learned from the generation of a probabilistic model” in Annals of Surgical Oncology (2004)
  • “Impact of morbid obesity on outcome of laparoscopic splenectomy” in Surgical Endoscopy (2006)

In addition, Dr. Yahanda has written chapters in more than 10 books, including:

  • Handbook of Surgical Oncology (1995)
  • Current Surgical Therapy (6th Edition, 1998)
  • Clinical Oncology (2nd Edition, 2000)
  • Surgical Oncology: Contemporary Practice and Principles (2001)

While working on his research, writing and clinical practice, Dr. Yahanda has taught both surgery and surgical oncology between 1991 and 2013. He was:

  • Robert Garrett Research Fellow, Division of Pediatric Surgery, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, 1988-1989
  • Surgery Instructor at Johns Hopkins University, 1991-1992
  • Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Michigan, 1995-2000
  • Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at Indiana University, 2009 to 2013

In 1999, Dr. Yahanda was honored with the William W. Coon Teaching Award in General Surgery from the University of Michigan. In 1991 and 1992, he received the Imbembo Resident Teaching Award from the Department of Surgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Dr. Yahanda is a member of several professional associations, including the Society of Surgical Oncology, American College of Surgeons, Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Cyberknife Society. He has had a number of committee responsibilities and served in administrative roles in some of these groups.

When meeting with patients, Dr. Yahanda views his relationship with them as a partnership, with each patient bringing their own experiences and priorities to help inform their treatment plan.

“It is my job as a physician to ensure that the patient receives an accurate diagnostic evaluation. Then it becomes the job of both the physician and the patient to use that information to jointly develop a treatment plan that is in harmony with the patient’s personal goals,” he says.

Dr. Yahanda’s friends and family members have battled cancer. Shortly after their diagnoses, they would contact Dr. Yahanda starving for information.

“I realized that cancer is an overwhelming diagnosis and people just want honest information from someone who cares.  In addition, with each one, I learned of their tremendous courage and strength as they battled through treatments,” he says.

Dr. Yahanda is married and has three children. His wife also is a doctor, a pediatric endocrinologist. His family enjoys spending time in Northern Michigan paddleboarding, water skiing, kiteboarding and wakeboarding on the waters of Lake Michigan. Dr. Yahanda is an avid snow skier and cook. He enjoys trying new cuisines as well as reading about food and cooking.