Society of Surgical Oncology News - June/July 2017

SSO News 2017-3


Addressing the Global Cancer Burden via International Collaborations; Interview with Dr. Are Ensuring Quality of Care through Influential Partnerships
SSO Partnerships for International Career Development SSO Member Focus - Maximizing the SSO Experience; Interview with Timothy Pawlik, MD, MPH, PhD
SSO Announces Search for Annals of Surgical Oncology Editor-in-Chief Submit Abstract Now for the 2018 International Symposium on Regional Cancer Therapies
SSO 2018 Call for Abstracts Opens July 10, 2017 2017 Fellows Institute – Save the Date
Why Include the SSO Foundation in your Charitable Giving? Ask Timothy Eberlein, MD SSO Collaborates to Develop a North America HPB Training Plan
New Videoconference Series Available

Addressing the Global Cancer Burden via International Collaborations

Dr. Chandra AreThe global cancer burden rises year over year and it is predicted that by the year 2035 there will be 23.9 million new cancer cases and 14.6 million cancer-related deaths.1 According to a Lancet Oncology Commission article from 2015, over 80% of cancer cases will require surgery; yet millions will not receive the surgery that could change the course of their cancer outcome. SSO International Committee Chair, Chandrakanth Are, MD, further explains that in the high income countries such as the United States and Europe there are fourteen operating rooms per 100,000 people.2 In low to middle income countries, where nearly 2.2 billion people live, there are only two operating rooms per 100,000 people.2 Although cancer surgery is a critical part of treatment and in some cases the only treatment option that could offer the hope of cure, it is grossly lacking, especially in low and middle income countries.

As the preeminent surgical oncology organization, SSO is leading the dialogue related to surgical oncology, the role of the surgeon and the worldwide cancer burden to affect change both locally and globally. SSO currently partners with eight international surgical oncology societies including: Brazilian Society of Surgical Oncology, Canadian Society of Surgical Oncology, Chinese Society of Clinical Oncology, European Society of Surgical Oncology, Indian Association of Surgical Oncology, Japanese Society of Gastroenterological Surgery, Korean Society of Surgical Oncology and Sociedad Mexicana de Oncologia.

Photo of Global Declaration of Intent Meeting

Elevating the voice and leadership role of the surgical oncologist on the global stage is a key objective for SSO’s International Committee. To address this need, SSO recently convened a global consortium of several important international partners at the SSO Annual Meeting in Seattle in March 2017. The outcome of this meeting was the Global Declaration of Intent, which will be published later this year in Annals of Surgical Oncology. Within this compelling document, the consortium identified several objectives to improve surgical care and increase surgical leadership on the global stage. Additional meetings are being planned at future SSO Annual Meetings to identify educational needs and local initiatives that can be used to break through surgical care barriers and bring about change.

The Global Declaration of Intent follows a 2016 joint report of the SSO and the European Society of Surgical Oncology that highlighted variations in surgical oncology training and presented a case for a global curriculum of uniform standards with the goal of creating a robust workforce of well-trained surgical oncologists. Later this year, two additional manuscripts will be published that further address issues surrounding the global cancer burden. The first manuscript analyzes the global variations in cancer-related research and its relationship to cancer-related outcomes. The second manuscript outlines a global curriculum in research literacy for the surgical oncologist which will aims to stimulate research and improve cancer outcomes.

Dr. Are concludes that multi-national collaborations are beneficial for surgical oncologists across the globe. He states, “By working together, we can establish surgical leadership on the global cancer stage, influence health policy and improve cancer outcomes for all types of cancer.” Dr. Are has been a member of SSO for thirteen years and is the Jerald L & Carolynn J Varner Professor of Surgical Oncology & Global Health, Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education (DIO) and Vice Chair of Education Department of Surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.


  2. Funk LM, Weiser TG, Berry WR et al. Global operating theatre distribution and pulse oximetry supply: an estimation from reported data. Lancet 2010; 376:1055-1061

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Ensuring Quality of Care through Influential Partnerships

Collaboration-Image-320x320Fostering multidisciplinary patient care is part of SSO’s DNA. To amplify the voice of the surgical oncologist on issues across the cancer care spectrum, the SSO Quality Committee has several charges, which include: 1. Establish standardized criteria and processes for SSO development and /or endorsement of quality measures, 2. Collaborate with multidisciplinary cancer organizations on measure development, 3. Formalize liaisons to external organizations developing quality measures, and 4. Develop and provide educational programming for SSO members.

The Quality Committee has significantly increased its activity over the last three years. A key mechanism for this action has been collaborations with other leading organizations. For example, two consensus panels on the topic of breast surgical disease were convened and included ASTRO and ASCO. The results of those panels lead to two consensus statements that were published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology:

Society of Surgical Oncology–American Society for Radiation Oncology–American Society of Clinical Oncology Consensus Guideline on Margins for Breast-Conserving Surgery with Whole-Breast Irradiation in Ductal Carcinoma In Situ

Society of Surgical Oncology – American Society for Radiation Oncology Consensus Guideline on Margins for Breast-Conserving Surgery With Whole-Breast Irradiation in Stages I and II Invasive Breast Cancer

In addition, the American Society of Breast Surgeons and American Society of Clinical Oncology endorsed the consensus statements, which was simultaneously published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Furthermore, SSO endorses 8-10 guidelines each year developed by other organizations. The process for such endorsements is relatively straightforward. Clinical organizations, such as the American Thyroid Association, will request an endorsement and provide SSO with the relevant documents. The Quality Committee and the appropriate Disease Site Work Group reviews the information and sends a recommendation to the Executive Council. Currently, the update of the ASCO/SSO Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy in Melanoma Guideline is in revision.

SSO liaisons to organizations directly involved in developing quality measures and discussing issues related to quality care in the US have been appointed by the SSO President and are members of the Quality Committee. These individuals are charged with attending meetings, participating on the behalf of the SSO, and bringing policies, issues, and information to SSO. The Quality Committee then discusses the information and recommends topics or issues to be brought to the larger membership and to the Executive Council. Ned Carp, MD is the representative to the Commission on Cancer and David Bentrem, MD is the representative to the National Quality Forum, which SSO is a member organization.

The last charge to the Quality Committee is to develop educational programming for the SSO membership. This usually is accomplished with a session at the SSO Annual Cancer Symposium. Each year the committee submits a proposal that includes speakers who may be from the partnering organizations. These speakers have represented the National Quality Forum, the Commission on Cancer, and the American College of Surgeons’ Surgical Quality Alliance and have brought current guidelines, issues and policies to the SSO membership.

The SSO welcomes opportunities for collaborations that provide educational resources for the surgical oncologist and enhance the multidisciplinary care of the cancer patient. Additional resources may be found on the SSO website.

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SSO Partners for International Career Development

Globe and silhouettes of peopleSSO collaborates with Partner Societies around the world to globally impact cancer surgery and procedures. The International Career Development Exchange (ICDE) program and international Observerships are two opportunities available to SSO members. The ICDE program provides support for up-and-coming surgical oncologists, with leadership potential, who are members of an SSO Partner Society. In 2017, SSO welcomed seven participants from Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan, Korea and Mexico. The program pairs ICDE Recipients with leading SSO member “mentors,” and enables recipients to attend the SSO Annual Meeting, participate in a post-meeting visit to their Mentor’s institution(s), and develop long-term relationships to improve cancer care in their countries.

The program has seen positive outcomes since it was first introduced four years ago. This year’s success with the ICDE program has followed suit. Recipients not only had the opportunity to observe procedures, they were also able to network and begin shaping relationships with their mentors. Dr. Franck Billman of the European Society of Surgical Oncology had this to say of the ICDE program:

“It was the perfect opportunity to meet SSO officials and to discuss the ICDE program and differences between Europe and US oncology facilities… SSO 2017 was an excellent opportunity to network with other attendees. However, the visitation of institutions was the best opportunity to network.

Of course, networking isn’t the only opportunity offered with this program. The Brazilian Society of Surgical Oncology’s winner, Dr. Wesley Andrade, stated:
“I work in the biggest hospitals in Brazil, but I could see many things and many devices that help the doctor's practice that I don’t have here (although I work in big hospitals). I’m writing a letter for my boss to try to buy same devices that will help me and my colleagues to improve our medical practices and help patient care.”

As part of the ongoing collaboration, select SSO Partner Societies have offered SSO members the opportunity to apply for an Observership in their respective countries. Recipients of this award participate in clinical and educational activities, observe procedures and surgeries, and attend patient rounds. In recent years, Brazilian Society of Surgical Oncology, European Society of Surgical Oncology and Japanese Society of Gastroenterological Surgery have hosted SSO members.

The Society of Surgical Oncology strives to improve multidisciplinary patient care by advancing the science, education and practice of cancer surgery worldwide. SSO’s ICDE and Oberservership programs are just two examples of the many efforts the Society engages in to better fulfill this mission. Learn more about these programs on the SSO Website. For any questions regarding this program or any other international program, please contact Ana Olivares, Manager, Global Outreach and Special Programs at

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Maximizing the SSO Experience

Dr. Timothy Pawlik photoTimothy Pawlik, MD, MPH, PhD joined SSO as a first-year surgical oncology fellow. Now, fifteen years later, he is co-chairing the Engagement Task Force with Julie Ann Sosa, MD, MA. We had the chance to speak with Dr. Pawlik to learn about the charges of the Engagement Task Force and his involvement with SSO over the years.

Q. What SSO opportunities have you utilized?

A. SSO is a fantastic organization and is one of the most important and premier organizations in surgery. The benefits are multi-fold. One important benefit of the SSO is our wonderful journal, The Annals of Surgical Oncology. There is a tremendous sum of knowledge that resides within the journal and access to it is a significant member benefit. The annual meeting is also phenomenal. International experts debate hot topics and present cutting edge research. It is a great opportunity for younger members to present at a national level and receive feedback on their research. I distinctly remember presenting at my first SSO meeting over a decade ago and have learned so much from mentors in the SSO over the years. Now, I help my residents and fellows get to the podium to deliver their own research! In addition to these benefits, the SSO provides a wide range of leadership opportunities and ways to participate on committees at a national level.

Q. What is the purpose of the Engagement Task Force?

A. The Engagement Task Force is a newly formed group of about ten people with the purpose of identifying engagement opportunities for members. These ideas range from committee structure, to opportunities for young physicians to share their research, to micro-volunteerism. Micro-volunteerism is a way of acting on specific tasks that are very defined and time limited. Identifying specific micro-volunteerism projects provides opportunities for members to leverage their skills and increase the number of members who are actively contributing to the society. We expect to have recommendations to share with the SSO Executive Council later this year.

Q. How does collaboration fit into the picture?

A. The membership of SSO is diverse. Members are from academic and community-practice settings and represent all stages of a surgical oncology career. SSO provides networking opportunities to help augment careers and to cultivate clinical collaborations. There are great opportunities for the SSO to foster relationships across the cancer care spectrum. As time passes, the line between what we consider a community hospital and an academic setting continues to be blurred. As many academic centers become more clinically focused, community hospitals are becoming larger and increasing their own focus on research infrastructure and clinical trials. As such, both “traditional” academic and community surgical oncologists have more and more in common. There is a wonderful opportunity not only for community surgeons to learn what is going on in academic medical centers, but also for academic physicians to learn about the way in which community hospitals deliver care. The SSO provides a wonderful forum for all surgical oncologists and is the perfect venue for all surgical oncologists to exchange ideas, build collaborations, and share knowledge aimed at improving the care of cancer patients.

Timothy Pawlik, MD, MPH, PhD is the Chair of the Department of Surgery at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and The Urban Meyer III and Shelley Meyer Chair for Cancer Research. In addition to co-chairing the SSO’s Engagement Task Force, Dr. Pawlik is a member of the SSO Finance Committee and a Deputy Editor for the Annals of Surgical Oncology.

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Annals of Surgical Oncology Seeks Editor-in-Chief

aso_coverSSO has begun a search process to identify a new Editor-in-Chief to succeed Dr. Charles M. Balch in March 2018. The Annals of Surgical Oncology (ASO) is wholly-owned by SSO and published under contract with Springer/Nature. ASO is the official journal of SSO and the American Society of Breast Surgeons. It has an impact factor of 3.655 and had over 845,000 article downloads in 2016, a 50% increase over 2015.

SSO has appointed an Editor-in-Chief Search Task Force to develop and oversee the recruitment and screening process. The Editor Search Resource Document details qualifications and responsibilities of the position along with information about the selection process. Qualified candidates may apply by providing relevant materials to SSO Executive Director, M. Eileen Widmer. Applications will be accepted through July 31, 2017.

ASO promotes high-quality surgical oncology management by communicating advances in research and education that are relevant and valuable to the provision of contemporary multidisciplinary care for patients with cancer. ASO is the journal of choice of surgical oncologists worldwide regarding surgical oncology research and education.

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Submit Abstracts Now for the 2018 International Symposium on Regional Cancer Therapies

SSO Regional Cancer Therapies LogoThe SSO is excited to announce that the 13th International Symposium on Regional Cancer Therapies, February 17-19, 2018 is now accepting abstracts.

This International Symposium is a progressive and comprehensive forum to promote research, development and application of regional cancer therapies in the areas of thoracic, gynecologic and gastroenterology oncology. Regionally applied biologic therapies and hyperthermia treatment modalities are also featured topics. Abstracts will be accepted through October 9, 2017.

Learn more about all event details including Call for Abstracts information, Housing and Registration dates.

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SSO 2018 Call for Abstracts Opens July 10, 2017

SSO2018 graphic
Looking for a prestigious opportunity to present your research to a global community of surgical oncology peers? Abstracts for SSO 2018 will be accepted July 10 through October 2, 2017. This premier surgical oncology symposium will be held March 21-24, 2018 in Chicago, IL and is a proactive forum for discussion and debate that represents the spectrum of multidisciplinary surgical oncology innovation and clinical application.

SSO 2018 will feature an education program that covers research developments, clinical trials, new technology and future trends in cancer care. You’ll have the opportunity to connect and collaborate with colleagues and old friends as you network during scheduled activities. Mark your calendars, and check the SSO 2018 website for updates and complete information when available.

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2017 Fellows Institute – Save the Date

IMG_4594[3]Fellows Institute returns to Houston, TX and provides fellows with hands-on lab training and didactic learning across three tracks: breast, surgical oncology, and hepato-pancreato-biliary (HPB). The program will take place November 13 – 15 and is cosponsored by the Americas Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association (AHPBA) and the American Society of Breast Surgeons (ASBrS). Now in its seventh year, Fellows Institute is designed to meet the educational and career development needs of these fellows.

Breast Program
The breast program begins on Monday afternoon with a didactic lecture on stereotactic biopsy. The day concludes with a welcome reception and dinner where the faculty panel will discuss job selection and work-life balance.

Tuesday begins with a focus on the basics of ultrasound imaging and biopsy, with a didactic lecture, a live model ultrasound lab, and an ultrasound and biopsy lab. The focus for the afternoon is oncoplastic surgery. This includes two didactic lectures and time in the cadaver lab. During the lab, fellows will learn about and practice numerous oncoplastic techniques including the round block technique (RBT), donut mastopexy, wise pattern, and nipple-sparing mastectomy. Fellows will also learn about skin marking for different incision types for the nipple-sparing mastectomy.

Surgical Oncology and HPB Programs
The surgical oncology and HPB program begins on Tuesday afternoon with didactic lectures on open and minimally invasive pancreatic surgery, and open and minimally invasive hepatectomy and ablative techniques. After the lectures, an engaging hour of HPB cases will be discussed. The day wraps up with a welcome reception and dinner where the faculty panel will discuss job selection and work-life balance.

Wednesday morning, surgical oncology fellows will learn about techniques in adrenal surgery, less common techniques in the management of regional disease from melanoma, HIPEC indications, setup and technique, and open and minimally invasive gastrectomy and node dissection. Didactic lectures will be broken up with interactive case discussions covering melanoma, sarcoma, colorectal and HIPEC cases.

Simultaneously, HPB fellows will learn about and debate laparoscopic versus open pancreas surgery, receive an overview of liver-directed therapies for malignancies and learn about the use of intraoperative ultrasound in HPB surgery. In addition, they’ll learn from experts about surgical management of hilar cholangiocarcinoma (resection versus transplant), the management of neuroendocrine tumors, and vascular reconstruction for borderline and locally advanced pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

Wednesday afternoon, surgical oncology and HPB fellows will all spend time in the cadaver lab. Lab stations include the ultrasound open and laparoscopic stations, where fellows practice open and laparoscopic ultrasound targeting on porcine livers. Cadaver stations are dedicated to HIPEC setup and technique and da Vinci® Surgical Systems. Two cadaver stations are dedicated to learning the novel technique of minimally invasive groin dissection. Finally, six cadaver stations are dedicated to minimally invasive and open techniques, covering gastric, adrenal, left and right upper quadrants, low anterior (LAR), and retroperitoneal sarcoma.

Mark your calendars, and check the Fellows Institute website for updates and registration information once live.

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Why Include the SSO Foundation in your Charitable Giving? Ask Timothy Eberlein, MD

Dr. EberleinWe asked one of the Foundation’s $1,000-level committed donors, Dr. Timothy Eberlein, why he gives to the SSO Foundation. Dr. Eberlein, SSO past President, Chair of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine, and Director of the Siteman Cancer Center (among numerous other distinctions), readily pointed to the importance of Fellows’ education. “I support the SSO Foundation because the most important thing we can do is educate and train the next generation of surgical oncology leaders. With our generosity, we can ensure that we are supporting those Fellows who will be our organization’s future.”

MITIEIt's no surprise that the development and delivery of Fellows training is costly, especially hands-on surgical training at top-level facilities like Methodist Institute of Technology, Innovation, and Education (MITIE) in Houston, Texas, where the upcoming SSO Fellows Institute course is being held, November 13-15.

Member donations help offset the expense of SSO educational programs, and we thank Dr. Eberlein for his generous support of the SSO Foundation. Please join Dr. Eberlein and make a gift today.

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SSO Collaborates to Develop a North American HPB Training Plan

As a result of a collaborative consensus conference between SSO, American Society of Transplant Surgeons and the Americas Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association, a working group has been formed to create a more unified plan for Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary (HPB) training in North America. The aim of this collaborative partnership is to look at common programmatic requirements for HPB training, common trainee requirements and to explore the concept of formative and summative assessment on HPB surgery training. The possibility of a common tripartite certificate of training in HPB surgery is also being explored. This work builds on a recent publication by these associations in Annals of Surgical Oncology and American Journal of Transplantation.

Three liaisons will represent SSO in the work group: Dan (Trey) Blazer, MD, Duke University Medical Center; Russell Berman, MD, NYU Langone Medical Center; and Carl R. Schmidt, MD, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. This working group will begin discussions this summer with an initial focus on training, introduction of new technologies and high-stakes examinations.

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New Videoconference Series Archives Available

The SSO, in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and hosted by SSO Vice President, David L. Bartlett, MD, conducted the latest installment of the Fellows National Videoconference Series on the topic of breast oncology. The videoconference series highlights case presentations from SSO fellows, as well as current SSO member moderators.

Current SSO surgical oncology fellows and moderators from six institutions delivered case presentations on topics including:

Pregnancy Associated Breast Cancer, Jack Rostas, MD, University of Louisville
Margins in Breast-Conserving Surgery for DCIS, Benjamin Powers, MD, Moffitt Cancer Center
Management of Breast Cancer in Young Woman, Jane Austin, MD, University of Toronto.

Moderators included Richard J. Bleicher, MD, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Alice P. Chung, MD, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, and Tari King, MD Dana-Farber Center Institute.

The purpose of the video conference series is to foster dialogue among Surgical Oncology Fellowship program trainees and program leadership for difficult or complicated surgical oncology cancer cases. Learn more about the Fellows National Videoconference Series and view archived webinars to expand your knowledge.

Mark your calendars for the next installment in the series, August 23rd, on the topic of Melanoma/Sarcoma.

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