Once selected for the General Surgery Residency program in the Department of Surgery, surgical residents may choose electives with the Department of Surgical Oncology. Rotation assignments with the Surgical Oncology Attending Surgeons teach the resident the latest advances in treatment – including minimally invasive surgical techniques, the ability to biopsy the lymph node most likely to contain any melanoma if it has spread (sentinel node biopsy), heated intraoperative perfusions, etc.
As chief residents, 5th year residents are responsible for daily care of the inpatients. In the operating room they learn the approach to complicated operative procedures and how to direct other members of the operative team. They are responsible for the education of the junior members of the team. This is all under the direction of the attending staff.
Residents in their 3rd year are given progressive responsibility of the inpatients as well as the operating room. They are expected to start to learn about the general care and specific approach to the cancer patient.
First year residents learn the preoperative and postoperative care of the surgical patient. They are introduced to the specific issues involved in the care of the cancer patient.
Residents attend the Tumor Conference, Sarcoma Conference and Breast Conference.
The Department of Surgical Oncology is an independent department; however, it participates in the surgical residency training program as an integral part of the Department of Surgery. Surgical Oncology is the branch of medical science that embraces the research, diagnosis, and treatment of solid tumors in humans. The complexity of surgical treatment of cancer requires special training and background. During the last two decades, Surgical Oncology has emerged as a separate surgical specialty, mostly as a result of newer techniques in instrumentation; application of molecular techniques in diagnosis, prognosis, and adjuvant chemotherapy; use of biologic response modifiers; and, lastly, application of gene therapy in the management of various solid tumors (e.g., melanomas, sarcomas).
With the development of knowledge in the initiation and promotion of solid tumors, therapeutic approaches have also changed. This evolutionary change has resulted in the natural progression of the science of Surgical Oncology into the currently established independent discipline in medical sciences.
The objectives of the Department of Surgical Oncology are:
1.To introduce medical students to the spectrum of solid tumors, their (tumor) biology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment, and current advances in the management of these cancers (e.g., breast, colon, lung, etc.)
2.To help and support the Department of Surgery to provide graduate education for surgical residents in the fundamentals of Surgical Oncology required for training general surgeons, leading to the certification for specialty practice by the American Board of Surgery.
3.To foster investigative work in the biology of cancer, to promote new knowledge on the understanding of the natural history of solid tumors, so that newer therapeutic options can be designed and developed.
4.To promote and sustain the highest quality clinical practice for solid tumor patients in the Department's hospital and outpatient sections.
5.To develop collaborative translational research and graduate education programs with appropriate basic science and clinical departments in the broad field of biology of human neoplasia.
Residents receive training in the subspecialty of Surgical Oncology including clinical trials methodology and basic tenets of preventive oncology.
Residents can participate in all of the following advanced surgical procedures:
1)Combined head and neck surgery
2)Radical pelvic surgery and abdominal surgery
4)Major soft tissue resections with appropriate reconstructive procedures
6)Isolated limb perfusions
7)Placement of infusion catheters
8)Brachytherapy procedures, and
9)Surgical techniques involved in multimodal therapy programs.
While viewing patients on teaching rounds in wards and in the Department of Surgical Oncology outpatient clinics, where tumors of various anatomic areas are seen (eg, head and neck, melanoma, sarcoma), residents develop in-depth knowledge of the natural history of solid tumors.
The Surgical Oncology Clinic at UI Medical Center Hospital with approximately 50 patients a day seen, comprise one of the largest and busiest clinical bases in the Chicago area.
Laboratories within the Department of Surgical Oncology occupy a single floor. The laboratories include a large centralized laboratory for immunology and biochemistry, which assures trainees and graduates and post graduates interact daily; a tissue culture laboratory; two laboratories designed and equipped for the preparation of tissue for light, phase contrast, and electron microscopy; and HPLC/biochemistry laboratory, and radioiodinations, nick translations, etc. is adjacent to these laboratories. Certain other departmental laboratories are also available.