Surgical Oncology

The Division of Surgical Oncology at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center (National Cancer Institute designated Comprehensive Cancer Center) offers cancer screening, cancer treatment, and follow-up care for patients with benign and malignant tumors.

Surgical Oncology

Our ServicesThe Division of Surgical Oncology at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center (National Cancer Institute designated Comprehensive Cancer Center) offers cancer screening, cancer treatment, and follow-up care for patients with benign and malignant tumors.

Surgical Oncologists have undergone additional specialty training in oncology, and offer the highest degree of specialization and expertise. Cancer surgery is generally considered complex, and published data have demonstrated that hospitals and surgeons with the highest volume experience with specific operations have the lowest complication and death rates. Recognizing the relationship between frequency of performing an operation and outcome, each surgeon in the Division of Surgical Oncology focuses his or her clinical practice on the management of one or two diseases. All of the surgeons in the Division of Surgical Oncology are on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School and regularly teach other physicians in Continuing Medical Education courses.

Surgical Oncologists work closely with a team of physicians in the Cancer Center including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, plastic/reconstructive surgeons, genetic counselors, oncology nursing staff and social workers to develop individualized cancer treatment plans.

Patients treated by the Surgical Oncologists benefit from discussion of their treatment plans in multidisciplinary conferences and from innovative treatment protocols and clinical trials. Clinical trials to assess new cancer treatment regimens are available to patients. All of the clinical trials available for patients at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute are available for patients at the Cancer Center as a result of a completely integrated clinical trials program.

Because the Surgical Oncology practice is physically located within the Cancer Center, patients benefit from on-the-spot, multidisciplinary inputs into treatment planning. Patients also benefit by the presentation and discussion of complex cases at multidisciplinary weekly tumor board conferences.

The Division of Surgical Oncology provides both inpatient and outpatient clinical services. Surgical Oncologists offer a breadth of diagnostic and therapeutic approaches, including:

  •     Fine needle aspiration of tumors for rapid diagnosis
  •     Lymphoscintigraphy and lymphatic mapping for breast cancer and melanoma
  •     Placement of hepatic arterial infusion pumps for patients with colorectal carcinoma liver metastases
  •     Radiofrequency ablation of liver tumors
  •     Laparoscopic treatment and staging of cancer
  •     Intraoperative radiation therapy and brachytherapy
  •     Colostomy-avoiding surgery for rectal cancer.

A wide variety of educational and support services are available for patients and their families as they go through cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

The following are clinical programs the Division of Surgical Oncology specialize in:

surgical oncologyMedical Education & TrainingThe Massachusetts General Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital Breast Surgery Fellowship seeks to prepare a trainee in surgery for an academic career devoted to the diagnosis, treatment and study of patients with breast cancer and benign breast disease.
Read more about the Breast Surgery Fellowship

The Advances in Cancer Management for the Surgeon Course is a two and a half day seminar that focuses on the most recent advances in management of cancer patients. The course covers diagnostic, staging, primary and adjuvant treatment strategies with an emphasis on breast cancer, colorectal cancer, melanoma, tumors of the gastrointestinal and hepatobiliary tumors. Faculty have been selected for their personal expertise as well as teaching ability. In addition, each year a different visiting professor that is a nationally recognized expert is invited to lecture during the course. At the conclusion of the course participants will be able to integrate the most common surgical oncology concepts into their clinical practice.

The course is held annually in November at a hotel in downtown Boston.

Innovative care at the Cancer Center

Learn more about the latest treatment options for this condition at the Cancer Center