Fox Chase Cancer Center

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Training Program Director: Richard J. Bleicher, MD, FACS

The Fox Chase Cancer Center is an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. The Center includes a 100-bed hospital devoted entirely to cancer patients, an outpatient center which includes a facility for clinical cancer prevention and research, one of the oldest and most nationally recognized high risk programs in the country, and the Institute for Cancer Research. The state of the art Women’s Cancer facility enclosed within the Center’s $67 Million new clinical outpatient building opened in March, 2010. 

Faculty and staff at Fox Chase Cancer Center are internationally recognized and see approximately 2,500 new breast patients per year with over 10,000 outpatient follow up visits and annually perform approximately 700 breast surgeries. Patients are drawn from regional, national and international locations. There are over 40 faculty and advanced practitioner staff members of various disciplines dedicated just to the clinical component of breast patient care alone. The Fox Chase Cancer Center has a residency in Radiation Oncology, and fellowship programs in Medical Oncology, Advanced Minimally Invasive Thoracic Oncology, Urologic Oncology, Gynecologic Oncology, Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Surgical Pathology-Oncology, Plastics Microsurgery and an SSO-approved, ACGME-accredited Complex General Surgical Oncology fellowship, none of whom conflict with the clinical experience of the breast fellow. Residents and medical students from Temple University School of Medicine also rotate at the Center, along with residents from other regional institutions. The Surgical Oncology Fellowship and Breast Fellowship rotations are designed explicitly not to overlap cases or clinical responsibilities, although there is frequent contact with fellows in other disciplines at conferences, courses, and other gatherings, that provides an academic but collegial atmosphere that is well suited to learning for the post-graduate trainee. There are also teaching opportunities with medical students rotating on the service.

The one-year Breast Fellowship Program accepts two (2) trainees annually and accepted its first Fellow over ten years ago. The program is designed to prepare the trainee for a leadership role in multidisciplinary breast care in an academic or community setting. Trainees have been highly successful in job-seeking and graduate to both academic and private positions, based upon their personal preference.

Clinical Rotations

Trainees will participate in a multidisciplinary breast evaluation clinic throughout the entire year and rotate on breast surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, pathology, radiology, and reconstructive surgery, among others. A rotation with a nationally recognized breast cancer risk assessment and management program will also provide the trainee with a thorough understanding of genetics and risk counseling. Extensive exposure to both dedicated cancer and benign breast clinics prepares the fellow for the myriad of routine situations typically seen in practice, as well as complex cases more commonly encountered at quaternary referral centers.

Conferences and Didactics

Introduction to Oncology lectures are held weekly during the summer for all institutional fellows, and several oncology specialty lectures are held each day at various sites on campus. A dedicated biostatistics course is offered in lecture format in the fall with an online lecture repository and resources for fellows. A clinical trials/research course provided annually is required attendance by all fellows. Didactic teaching on topics of current interest occurs at regular multidisciplinary educational conferences, along with didactics in statistics and trial design. A dedicated breast curriculum of lectures are also given as a part of the fellows’ didactic weekly lectures.

Clinical Trials

Members of the Fox Chase Cancer Center are active participants in multiple clinical trials groups, supported by a dedicated protocol office and staff. Even just for breast disease, the institution participates and is recruits to numerous clinical trials, and the Fellow will participate in recruitment and follow-up of trial subjects. 

Academics, Publications, and Presentations

Fellows are mentored by faculty and actively assisted with research projects that are tailored to their interests from the very outset of the fellowship. They are expected to complete at least one original academic project to submit for national presentation, encouraged to perform one other project, and participate in one outreach endeavor in the community. Resources to assist in academic work include an extensive clinical breast cancer database, a tumor registry, a high risk genetics database, and a biospecimen repository. The Department of Biostatistics also sets extensive dedicated time aside for fellowship projects as part of the institution's academic mission. Regular meetings with the biostatisticians on every research project, both with and without the faculty mentor, teaches fellows the process of study design and advanced methods in clinical research. Fellows have given oral and poster presentations at national meetings, and been academically productive each year.

Application and Eligibility

Applicants must be Board Eligible or Board Certified in General Surgery with graduates of other disciplines considered on an individual per-applicant basis. The applicant must be eligible to obtain an unrestricted license to practice medicine in Pennsylvania. A curriculum vitae, personal statement, and three letters of reference (preferably one from the Program Director or Department Chair) are required. 

Contact Information

Training Program Directors:

Richard J. Bleicher, MD
Director, Breast Fellowship Program

Elin R. Sigurdson, MD, PhD
Co-Director

Address: Fox Chase Cancer Center
Department of Surgical Oncology
333 Cottman Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19111-2497
Phone: 215-728-3519

Request information from: Stephanie Ragsdale
Fellowship Coordinator


Department of Surgical Oncology
Fox Chase Cancer Center
333 Cottman Avenue, C-308
Philadelphia, PA 19111-2497

Phone: 215-728-3160
Fax: 215-728-2773
Email: Stephanie.Ragsdale@fccc.edu