Society of Surgical Oncology News - August/September 2017

SSO News 2017-4


The Dynamic Future of SSO: Comments from SSO President, Kelly McMasters, MD, PhD Inclusivity: Opportunities for all cancer surgeons
Accessibility: Dynamically engage with peers Relevance: Meeting career needs
Exploring Innovation with Data-Driven Dialogue Working in the Community as an SSO Member: A Conversation with Jill Onesti, MD
Getting the Most of Out of Your Fellowship: A Journey with Lucy De La Cruz, MD SSO 2018: Be a Part of the Exceptional Surgical Oncology Experience
International Symposium on Regional Cancer Therapies: Collaborate on Clinical Trials, Share Data and Network with Peers Get Ready to Chat at #SSOTumorBoard
ExpertEd@SSO is Coming Soon Remembering Past SSO President, Alfred S. Ketcham, MD
SSO Foundation Announces New Levels of Giving – Join Your Colleagues Today  

The Dynamic Future of SSO: Comments from SSO President, Kelly McMasters, MD, PhD

Kelly McMaster, MD picture“This is an exciting time in the history of SSO. The Society is evolving to meet the needs of the cancer surgeon and provide greater opportunities for engagement.” Inclusivity, accessibility and relevance are tenets of a collective experience that supports the SSO mission.

Since its humble beginnings in 1940, SSO has cultivated a reputation as being the most prestigious surgical oncology society. While holding to the values that lead to its prominence, SSO is poised to deepen its roots within the cancer surgery ecosystem. Upon return from SSO’s annual planning meeting, President Kelly McMasters, MD, PhD comments on the strategic direction of the society and the many benefits it offers members. “This is an exciting time in the history of SSO. Regardless of practice setting, we are all committed to providing the very best care for patients. Likewise, SSO is also evolving to meet the needs of the cancer surgeon and provide greater opportunities for engagement.”

Inclusivity, accessibility and relevance are tenets of a collective experience that supports SSO’s mission of improving multidisciplinary patient care by advancing the science, education and practice of cancer surgery worldwide.

Inclusivity: Opportunities for all cancer surgeons

“SSO is the home for the cancer surgeon regardless of where they trained, where they live or where they practice,” stated Dr. McMasters. As the SSO has grown over the years, there has been a concerted effort to provide value to a diverse constituent group. From international cancer surgeons, to fellowship-trained surgical oncologists, to general surgeons who perform cancer operations--all are welcome in the SSO and benefit from its educational offerings. Resources such as the Global Curriculum and disease management consensus guidelines demonstrate SSO’s commitment to working across the globe with partner societies to impact cancer care.

Accessibility: Dynamically engage with peers

SSO 2018 GroupCollaboration and dialogue with peers to advance the science and practice of surgical oncology is essential. As a result, SSO is focused on creating greater leadership and volunteer programs including international faculty exchanges, international career development training, and one-on-one mentoring. Increased engagement is a goal of the SSO Annual Cancer Symposium experience. As a result of this goal, SSO 2018 will expand symposia and oral abstract sessions by 45%, including Quick Shot Abstract selections. The SSO 2018 venue will also provide access to influential leaders in surgical oncology for networking and discussing treatment developments and challenges. Dr. McMasters explains, “Because of the clinical content and opportunities to interact with world-renowned surgical oncology leaders, the SSO Annual Cancer Symposium is the one meeting that every cancer surgeon in the world should attend each year.”

Relevance: Meeting career needs

“From the educational and mentoring needs of fellows, to publication goals of surgical oncology researchers, to leadership initiatives both locally and globally, the whole idea of career development and mentoring is woven into the fabric of the SSO. We want to provide opportunities for cancer surgeons from around the world to present, publish and become authorities in their particular area of cancer surgery,” stated Dr. McMasters. In addition to opportunities available at the SSO Annual Cancer Symposium, the SSO’s journal, Annals of Surgical Oncology, is the most cited surgical journal in the world because of the volume and quality of clinical content. The educational content within the journal provides surgeons a beneficial resource to help meet the needs of their practice. “The SSO is the one place that meets the educational needs of the cancer surgeon because of up-to-date resources on the latest and best practices in the care of cancer patients as the cancer surgeon,” explains Dr. McMasters.

As the SSO finalizes the new strategic plan to begin in 2018, new opportunities for engagement, enhanced Annual Cancer Symposium features and new educational initiatives will be announced.

Exploring Innovation with Data-Driven Dialogue

David Bartlett, MD pictureDeveloping methods and venues for training, educating and creating scientific dialogue about emergent surgical techniques and treatments has been a mainstay of SSO. For over seven decades, SSO has worked to evolve its offerings to meet the needs of fellows, surgical oncologists and the general surgeon who performs cancer operations. David Bartlett, MD, Vice Chairman, Surgical Oncology and Gastrointestinal Services, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, has been instrumental in establishing programs for SSO members to utilize. These programs include the SSO Fellows Institute, Fellows National Videoconference Series and the International Symposium on Regional Cancer Therapies.

The SSO Fellows Institute was developed to provide fellows specializing in surgical oncology, breast, and hepato-pancreato-biliary an opportunity for hands-on training and exposure to innovative therapies. “This will be the seventh year of this program and I have witnessed a tremendous response from Program Directors and Fellows who are able to practice minimally invasive liver,” stated Dr. Bartlett. Megan Miller, MD attended Fellows Institute in 2016 and said, “The SSO Fellows Institute was a unique opportunity to interact with and learn from a variety of surgeons in different practice settings, from academic to community-based to private practice.”

Identifying and building an evidence-based approach to new treatment options has been a focus for Dr. Bartlett. He explains, “When I was a resident, I had some very memorable patients with peritoneal disease that did very poorly and were not given options for therapy, so my interest in innovative treatments, like HIPEC, evolved out of trying to find better approaches for the stage of cancer that is very morbid and uniformly fatal.” While HIPEC has been available since the late 1980’s, evidence to support its early utilization was limited. Many cutting-edge techniques that are new are not well studied. In order to provide a forum for presentation and dialogue about these types of treatments, the International Symposium on Regional Cancer Therapies was founded. Dr. Bartlett stated, “My purpose in establishing this meeting was to create an avenue for surgeon scientists to gather and present data, talk about clinical trials and begin to make the field as scientific and data driven as possible.”

Over the years, SSO has evolved to provide greater venues for dialogue about innovative technologies that are evidence-based. Programs such as the International Symposium on Regional Cancer Therapies and the SSO Annual Cancer Symposium are at the forefront for bringing innovative therapies to SSO members. Abstracts are currently being accepted for both meetings and meeting registrations will open soon.

Working in the Community as an SSO Member: A Conversation with Jill Onesti, MD

Jill Onesti, MDThe Society spent some time talking to SSO member and Chair of the Community Practice Surgeons Committee, Jill Onesti, MD, about her role as a cancer surgeon in the community practice setting. Having completed her surgical oncology fellowship program at The Ohio State University, she currently serves as the Medical Director of Surgical Oncology at Mercy Health Physician Partners in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

As a cancer surgeon in a community setting, Dr. Onesti faces different kinds of challenges that are not typical in the academic setting. For example, those in the community may not have as many subspecialists as one might find otherwise. She explains: “Previously general surgeons had been doing most of the cancer cases. When I started, our goal was to increase our cancer care. We added a HIPEC program, we’re adding a hepatic artery infusion program, and trying to increase our multidisciplinary approach upfront in areas such as liver cancer.  The collaborative work between surgical oncologists, general surgeons and medical oncologists seems to flow very well between each discipline.”

As a cancer surgeon in a community setting, Dr. Onesti defines her top needs as staying up-to-date with the latest cancer research, techniques and the emphasis of her role in the community setting. Attending the SSO Annual Cancer Symposium has helped her stay current. Dr. Onesti has attended every Annual Cancer Symposium since joining as a senior resident; finding the education and networking opportunities valuable in how she approaches cancer care back home.

“The meeting is phenomenal, especially for someone in my scenario, where I do a lot of different areas of subs-specialization. I can always find surgeons there to discuss “have you seen this before, have you run into this situation?” both clinically and professionally. Then to have access to the virtual meeting afterwards has been extremely valuable. The Scientific Program Committee does a fantastic job of presenting fresh content and not making each year be a regurgitation of the previous year.”

Aside from the science offered at SSO Annual Cancer Symposium, access to the online Annals of Surgical Oncology and educational opportunities like webinars and consensus guidelines are just a few other offerings that Dr. Jill Onesti noted were valuable to her as a member.

SSO works diligently to provide the best and most recent developments in patient care to members. Being able to work directly with SSO members from different backgrounds and practice settings supports the mission to improve the multidisciplinary practice, science and education of cancer surgery worldwide.

Getting the Most of Out of Your Fellowship: A Journey with Lucy De La Cruz, MD

Lucy De La Cruz, MD pictureSSO membership has grown steadily year over year and in recent years, a majority of new members joining the Society have been Fellows and Residents. Trainees are seeing how being part of SSO can truly make a difference in their training experience and career planning.

Vice Chair of the Fellows Sub-Committee for SSO, Lucy De La Cruz, MD describes how SSO has transformed her journey from Resident to Breast Surgeon: "When I first started coming to the meetings, I wasn't fully prepared for the things that I needed for "after residency" such as applying for fellowship. Joining the SSO and participating in various programs and events gave me an opportunity to exchange ideas and opinions. It gave me an edge.” When asked about the SSO Annual Cancer Symposium, she exclaimed, “I think all fellows should attend. It provides great exposure, network opportunities, and new and breaking research—you can keep up-to-date with all other surgical oncology sub-specialties.” Additionally, she’s stated that SSO’s online offerings like webinars and other educational activities have been great for exam preparation and have provided additional education not offered during training.

Dr. De La Cruz also participated in the Fellows Institute and found the experience to be one-of-a-kind: “It was a great experience because the faculty talked about contract negotiations, new jobs – what to look for, what not to look for and what to ask. I thought it was very helpful in that sense because the business side of medicine was not taught during residency. It brought knowledge and information that was new to me.”

But taking advantage of the SSO’s educational opportunities wasn’t all that attracted Dr. De La Cruz to the SSO. Since joining, she has become an active member. As Vice Chair of the Fellowship Sub-Committee, she’s propelled a new Mentorship program that is set to debut this October starting with eight mentees who have been matched up with corresponding mentors. “There is a need for residents and fellows who feel that their mentorship experience [in their institution] is lacking.” she states, “Getting involved in SSO has been an amazing experience. The people I have met when doing committee work and other opportunities to be involved is just amazing. It’s been a great experience. And I look forward to continuing my engagement in the SSO.”  

SSO Events and Announcements

SSO 2018: Be a Part of the Exceptional Surgical Oncology Experience

chicagoExplore innovation, access the most up-to-date education and connect and collaborate with cancer surgeons from academic and community settings at the 71st SSO Annual Cancer Symposium, March 21 – 24 in Chicago, IL. 

This year’s meeting features 45% more oral abstract presentations, including Quick Shot Abstracts, expanded symposia, and a reorganized schedule of events to maximize event participation.

Important dates:

Abstract submission deadline: October 2, 2017
Registration opens: October 14, 2017

Housing is now open so start making your plans now to experience SSO 2018. Follow SSO on Twitter @SocSurgOnc #SSO2018 to learn about the most recent meeting updates.

International Symposium on Regional Cancer Therapies: Collaborate on Clinical Trials, Share Data and Network with Peers

International Symposium on Regional Cancer Therapies pictureJoin esteemed colleagues from around the world to examine the latest research about regional cancer therapies, including the field of hyperthermia and regionally applied biologic therapies.  The 13th International Symposium on Regional Cancer Therapies will take place near Jacksonville, FL, February 17 – 19, 2018.

This two and one half day program is a progressive and comprehensive forum to promote research, development and application of regional cancer therapies in the areas thoracic, gynecologic and gastroenterology oncology. Tracks include applied research, limb/sarcoma/melanoma, liver, and peritoneal metastases. Programming will take place in the mornings through early afternoon, with time for networking, posters, exhibits, and meetings in the afternoon and evening timeframes.

Abstracts are being accepted through October 9, 2017There are no regulations or restrictions around previously presented abstracts at this meeting. Abstracts presented at this event are also permitted to be presented at SSO 2018.

Get Ready to Chat at #SSOTumorBoard

Genevieve Boland, MD Twitter chat imageJoin us tonight, September 13 at 8:00PM EST on Twitter at #SSOTumorBoard for our first Twitter chat. Genevieve Boland, MD, PhD will moderate the case discussion. If you can’t make it, you can still read the dialogue at #SSOTumorBoard.

The next Twitter chat will happen on October 12 at 8:00PM EST and will be moderated by Sabha Ganai, MD. The case topic is soft tissue sarcoma. Follow SSO on Twitter @SocSurgOnc #SSOTumorBoard for the latest updates.

ExpertEd@SSO is Coming Soon

ExpertEd@SSO pictureGet ready for a new online learning experience! SSO will launch ExpertEd@SSO later this fall. This online learning management system will give you access to the Society’s CME and MOC Part 2 self-assessment activities, allow you to track credit earned and submit directly to the American Board of Surgery. Watch for more information about this exciting, new service later this year.

Remembering Past SSO President, Alfred S. Ketcham, MD

Ron Weigel, MDAlfred S. Ketcham, MD, 92, former Chief of Surgical Oncology at the University of Miami and previous Chief of Surgery at the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, passed away peacefully July 17, 2017 in Coral Gables, Florida. During his career, he became one of this country’s most respected surgical oncologists.

In 1957 he joined the National Cancer Institute and assumed a position as Senior Investigator of the Surgery Branch. His early research used a murine model to examine induced and spontaneous tumor metastasis; his findings improved our understanding of the metastatic process, especially site-specific metastasis. In the operating room, he demonstrated techniques to minimize complications of resection for tumors of the paranasal sinuses; his pioneering work on skull-base surgery set the standard for craniofacial resection of malignant tumors of the anterior cranial fossa. He was the first to show improved survival for patients with malignant tumors of the anterior cranial fossa. He was the first to show improved survival for patients with malignant lesions of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses extending to the skull base. In 1974, Alfred Ketcham accepted the University of Miami’s invitation to serve as Sylvester Professor of Oncology and Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology. This move heralded two extremely productive decades of clinical research and administrative accomplishments.

Dr. Ketcham served as SSO President from 1990 – 1991. His tenure marked the beginning of a transformative period of growth for SSO that started with a strategic planning session in January 1990. This plan was implemented over a three-year period, which lead to a reengineered annual meeting, implementation of councilor-at-large positions to the Executive Council and membership expansion to include surgeons who were not formally trained in surgical oncology, but were qualified “with six years of continuous practice in surgical oncology.”

Dr. Ketcham’s surgical expertise and research acumen are documented by more than three-hundred peer-reviewed publications. His skill as an educator is evidenced by a long list of top surgical oncologists throughout the country whom he mentored during his career, including SSO Past President Donald L. Morton, MD.  Additional tributes to Dr. Ketcham’s prolific career and life may be read at Miami Herald.

SSO Foundation Announces New Levels of Giving – Join Your Colleagues Today

Ron Weigel, MDAt the upcoming SSO Annual Cancer Symposium, March 21 – 24, 2018 in Chicago, The SSO Foundation Donor Board will feature levels of giving for the first time. In the past, all names and donations have been displayed simply in alphabetical order. Introducing donation-level categories will help grow giving to the Foundation and will encourage SSO members to thank our most generous donors for their support. “Many SSO programs are supported solely through the generosity of our members,” notes Ron Weigel, MD, PhD, Vice President of The SSO Foundation and Chair of The SSO Foundation Development Committee. Dr. Weigel is the EA Crowell Jr. Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at University of Iowa Health Care, and the Associate Vice President of the UI Health Alliance. 

Philanthropic contributions from the membership of the SSO have provided full funding for the SSO Young Investigator Award, and helps to offset the costs to develop various educational offerings such as Fellows Institute and research awards presented at the SSO Annual Cancer Symposium.

The new levels are:

Under $250: Contributor
$250 – $499: Major Contributor
$500 -  $999: President’s Circle
$1,000+:  James Ewing Circle*

Dr. Weigel is a member of the James Ewing Circle, but reminds members that every single gift has impact. "A gift of any size speaks volumes to your commitment to the Society’s mission to improve multidisciplinary patient care through cutting edge scientific investigation and innovative educational programs. Success of the SSO mission depends on the generosity of SSO members, and I hope we can achieve 100% membership donation participation in 2018.” 

Make a gift by December 31, 2017 to be featured on The SSO Foundation Donor Board at SSO 2018. Your contribution is critical to support research, education, and other important initiatives of the SSO and The SSO Foundation. 

*$1,000 and above OR cumulative giving of $10,000 or greater since 2013.