SURGONConnect

Issue 1 2019

Thank you to all the SSO members who participated in this year’s online election! SSO is pleased to announce results for the four positions included in the election.

Executive Council: Councilor-at-Large Representative

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Genevieve M. Boland, MD, PhD

Director, Melanoma Surgery Program and Surgical Oncology Research Laboratories, Massachusetts General Hospital

Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School

Associate Member, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Boston, MA

Nominating Committee: Community-Based Surgical Oncologist Representative

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Kimberly Dalal, MD

Medical Director of Surgical Oncology, Mills-Peninsula, Palo Alto Medical Foundation

Medical Director, Pancreas Surgical Oncology, California Pacific Medical Center, Bay Area Sutter Health

Burlingame, CA

Nominating Committee: International Surgical Oncologist Representative

SURGONConnectAlessandro Gronchi, MD

Chair, Sarcoma Service – Department of Surgery

Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori

Milan, Italy

Nominating Committee: Undesignated Active Member Representative

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Nipun Merchant, MD

Alan S. Livingstone Endowed Chair in Surgical Oncology and Professor of Surgery

Vice Chair of Surgical Oncology Services

Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology

University of Miami

Miami, FL

SURGONConnectShaila Merchant, MD of Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada was recently awarded with the 2019 Korean Society of Surgical Oncology (KSSO) Observership opportunity. She recently returned from her ten-day trip, during which she attended the Seoul International Symposium of Surgical Oncology meeting and spent time at Seoul National University Hospital under the mentorship of Han-Kwang Yang, MD, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the KSSO. Dr. Merchant spent a few moments to describe her experience to SSO Staff.

Q: What was appealing about the KSSO Observership opportunity?

Dr. Merchant: Gastric cancer is an area of clinical and research interest for me. It was highly appealing to travel to an area with a much higher incidence of this type of cancer as it is not as common in North America.  And, many of the randomized clinical trials in gastric cancer come from South Korea and I was interested in learning more about their research infrastructure.

Q. What were your personal objectives for this program?

Dr. Merchant: There is a lot of controversy in the West about the extent of lymph node dissection related to gastric cancer. Surgeons in Korea and Japan have been performing these extended lymph node dissections in gastric cancer for a long time. It has only been recently that it has been adopted in Western countries. I was interested in seeing if the way I was taught is the way that surgeons in the East are performing the procedure. I also wanted to learn more about minimally invasive approaches to gastric cancer, specifically with respect to patient selection, positioning and key interoperative maneuvers, as I plan to incorporate this into my own practice in the future. And finally, I wanted to learn more about their own research and their infrastructure.

Q. What were the most interesting components of this opportunity?

Dr. Merchant: There were many interesting components of this Observership opportunity. I was very impressed with the caliber of research presented at the Seoul International Symposium of Surgical Oncology meeting and the spirit of collaboration amongst the speakers and the attendees.

When I began the Observership at Seoul National University Hospital, I was shocked to see what high volume of gastric surgeries, approximately three to five gastrectomies a day. In my own practice I probably do 25 – 30 cases per year. It was interesting to see the number of patients that present with gastric cancer and the number of ways they approach gastric cancer surgery. But, even more than that, the most interesting thing was how the presentation of gastric cancer is so different in South Korea compared to my own practice. For example, the majority of patients present with locally advanced proximal cancer, where as in South Korea the majority of patients present with early distal gastric cancer. It dawned on me that we are treating very different gastric cancers in the West as compared to the East. The disparities in presentation are striking and incredibly interesting.

Q. What are some of the key takeaways from this experience?

Dr. Merchant: My key takeaway is that there are many nuances in the management of gastric cancers. Some of these nuances are about the approach – open, laparoscopic, robotic or even endoscopic for the early cancers and the extent of the resection that can be distal gastrectomy, proximal or total gastrectomy. As well as the extent of lymph node dissection, which can be tailored to the stage and location of the disease and the various options for reconstruction to restore GI continuity. It was very interesting to see to see the wide varieties of approaches that are utilized at this institution and the way that the surgeons very carefully tailor their approach with each patient.

Q. What information do you plan to share or integrate into your own practice?

Dr. Merchant: I’m the only person that does gastric cancer surgeries at my institution, so I plan on slightly modifying my lymph node dissection technique based on what I learned in Seoul. And moving forward, when I have a patient with early distal gastric cancer I plan to perform the operation laparoscopically. I also plan to share these experiences to with my colleagues and surgical residents.

Q. What other information would you like to share?

Dr. Merchant: I am very grateful to be the recipient of the 2019 KSSO Observership. While I was only there a short time, it was very fruitful. Every day I was able to see multiple cases and have many of my questions answered by the surgeons. I was able to sit in on a research meeting and get a sense of their ongoing studies and gain an understand of how they can be so productive. They are very collaborative and have large research teams that allow them to be so productive – it takes a village when it comes to research and they have an excellent infrastructure in place.

The KSSO Secretariat did a fantastic job organizing my visit and the entire team including surgeons, fellows, residents, medical students and nurses were warm and welcoming. Professor Han-Kwang Yang, MD and his surgical group are skilled, knowledgeable and importantly, shared their knowledge and wisdom openly. The experience I gained from this observership will enable me to deliver better surgical care to my patients and the connections I have made will serve the basis for life-long collaborations and friendships.

The SSO has nearly 390 members serving on 32 active Committees, Subcommittees, Work Groups and Task Forces for the 2019 – 2020 year. The various groups of SSO volunteer leaders are critical to the accomplishment of the SSO Mission. Whether Standing or Appointed, these Committees, Subcommittees, Work Groups, and Task Forces are the functional entities that guide and often execute the work of the Society. They also provide an opportunity for member engagement and the development of future Society leaders. The question of how one participates in this capacity is a frequent question. While all members are able to access the Committee Handbook, the following is a brief summary of the various processes.

There are several steps in the process and depending on the type of Committee, the process may vary. All positions on Committees, Subcommittees, Work Groups, and Task Forces are appointed by the incoming President, typically in December, prior to the start of the new governance year beginning April 1. The appointment process, however, begins in the Fall with the Application for Engagement. Based on the positions available, Active, Active International and Emeritus members may apply. The exception to this is the Fellows and Young Attendings Subcommittee, which is comprised of members who are Fellows or are within two years of completion of a Fellowship program. Applicants, along with recommendations by the Committee Chairs and Vice-Chairs are then presented to the President Elect. Committee terms are for two years and appointment notifications are sent early in the year.

The Nominating Committee serves an important role in determining the members of the Executive Council. The Nominating Committee is a group of eight individuals, as specified in SSO’s bylaws. Three of the eight positions are elected positions. In late summer, Active, Active International and Emeritus members may nominate SSO members to serve. The list of candidates is presented to the Nominating Committee and the top three individuals are identified and presented back to eligible members to vote in January. Terms begin in April.

Finally, the SSO Executive Council is the highest level of leadership in the Society. Positions are both elected and appointed. A total of three Councilor-at-Large positions serve on the Executive Council. Candidates for these positions are solicited by the Nominating Committee from Executive Council members and Past Presidents. The list is narrowed by the Nominating Committee to two to three candidates. These individuals are then presented to eligible SSO members to vote. The Councilor-at-Large position is a three-year term, with a new position becoming available each year. Appointed positions on the Executive Council go through a two-step process. The first step is the development of a slate of candidates by current Executive Council member and Past Presidents. Then, the Nominating Committee appoints candidates to open positions.

If you have any questions about the paths to serve on SSO Committees, Subcommittees, Work Groups and Task Forces, please contact Andrea King, Manager, Governance and Member Engagement.

In October 2018 meeting, the SSO Foundation (SSOF) Board and the SSO Executive Council unanimously approved a decision to transition all SSOF assets to the SSO Research and Education Fund, a restricted fund of the SSO, eliminating the operational expenses required to maintain SSOF as a separate 501(c)(3) corporate entity.  Based on a recommendation by The SSOF Board, the SSO Executive Council approved that the use of the funds will be restricted for research (such as the existing Clinical Investigator Award or Young Investigator Award), education, or innovation.

This shift to a restricted fund ensures that 100% of donations will be used to support research grants and select educational programming, with no portion supporting operations. SSO has assumed responsibility for all expenses formerly funded by SSOF, including lectureships such as the James Ewing Lecture, travel awards such as the Harvey Baker Traveling Fellow Award, and all overhead and fundraising costs. 

Efforts to secure private foundation and industry support to extend the ability of the new Fund to award research grants will be pursued. SSO members are encouraged to donate to this Fund and should feel confident knowing that 100% of every donation will be restricted to research grants and education programming, with no portion of the gift supporting operations. Make your gift today to demonstrate your commitment to supporting the surgeon scientist. If you are attending SSO 2019, you may donate on site by texting SSODONATE to 41444.

SURGONConnectThe 14th International Symposium on Regional Cancer Therapies took place February 16 – 18, 2019 in Phoenix, AZ. SSO welcomed 197 surgical and industry oncology professionals to the meeting, an increase over last year’s event. The atmosphere was charged with energy, elevated by the high level of research, the excellence of the presenters and panels, and the real opportunity to connect with colleagues.

The three-day program was designed to cover the most recent advances in cancer therapy that are primarily of a regional focus, such as gastrointestinal, intraperitoneal, hepatic, ovarian and thoracic cancers. Several surgical oncologists from around the world were invited to present innovative approaches to challenging cancer treatment scenarios. The call for abstracts received over 120 submissions, resulting in 42 oral abstracts and 54 ePosters presented.

The Gabriella Graham award recipient was the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (OCRA).  Chad Ramsey, Vice President of Policy, was invited to the meeting to accept the award on their behalf during the Saturday reception.  The mission of the OCRA is to ensure access and availability to high quality treatment and care; promote a strong commitment to research and education funding and protect patient safety in the era of precision medicine and advanced diagnostics.

The Appendix Cancer/PMP Research Foundation (ACPMP) partnered with SSO to award three $1,000 travel grants to top oral abstract presenters presenting on the topics of PMP and appendix cancer. The following are the award recipients:

  • Forrest Williard, BS, UTHSC College of Medicine, Memphis, TN for PM2: Peritoneal Metastases have a Distinct Molecular Profile from Primary Colorectal Adenocarcinoma
  • Eliahu Bekhor, MD, Icahn Medical School of Mount Sinai, New York, NY for PM13: Surveillance of Low-Grade Appendiceal Mucinous Neoplasms with Peritoneal Metastases After Cytoreductive Surgery and Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy: Are 5 Years Enough? A Multisite Experience
  • Marian Khalili, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA for AR2: Slippery Nanoparticles as a Diffusion Platform for Mucin Producing Gastrointestinal Tumors

Save the date for the 15th International Symposium on Regional Cancer Therapies, February 15 – 17, 2019 in Orlando, FL. The call for abstracts will open this summer.

Strengthen skills, increase levels of knowledge and stay up-to-date on the latest research with just one visit to SSO’s online educational platform, ExpertED@SSO. Several new webinars for the month of May have been announced and registration is now open.

The Framework to Submitting a Successful Abstract | May 1, 2019 | 4 pm CT.

Moderated by: Danny M. Takanishi, Jr., MD and Yanghee Woo, MD with guest speaker Rebecca Auer, MD, MSC.

This webinar will help to increase knowledge of proficient scientific abstract formulation and the ability to practically apply this knowledge in the submission process for consideration by scientific symposia program committees.

You may find this activity in the Other Surgical Oncology section in the ExpertED@SSO catalog.


Should a Patient with a 2 cm HER2+/TNBC Clinically Node Negative Receive Neoadjuvant Therapy? |

May 9, 2019 | 2 pm CT

Faculty: Julie Margenthaler, MD and Sarah McLaughlin, MD

Based on the SSO 2019 Great Debate, this webinar will present data and compare and contrast the benefits and limitations of upfront surgery and neoadjuvant therapy for TNBC and discuss resectable HER2+.

You may find this activity in the Breast Disease section in the ExpertED@SSO catalog.

This activity is partially supported by an independent educational grant from Genentech.

Young Adult Onset Colorectal Cancer: What is going on? | May 15, 2019 | 3 pm CT

Faculty: J. Joshua Smith, MD, PhD, Y. Nancy You, MD, MHSc, and Heather Yeo, MD, MHS.

Young-onset colorectal cancer is distinct in many ways. Location of the tumor varies substantially with age and cancers are also histologically more aggressive. This webinar will review practice changing papers and national screening guidelines and age-related differences in colorectal cancer that have implications for diagnosis and treatment.

You may find this activity in the Colorectal Disease section in the ExpertED@SSO catalog.

Multi-Modality Management of Stage IV Melanoma in the Era of Immunotherapy |May 29, 2019 | 5 pm CT

Faculty: Omid Hamid, MD, Genevieve Boland, MD, PhD, Mark Faries, MD and Charlotte Ariyan, MD

Learn about the mechanisms of action and toxicities of novel immunotherapeutic agents for metastatic melanoma and how to best integrate these agents with surgical options. This case-based webinar will cover topics including systemic therapy, immune adjuvants for Stage IV melanoma, management of oligometastatic disease and surgical outcomes in melanoma in combination with immunotherapy.

You may find this activity in the Melanoma Disease section in the ExpertED@SSO catalog.

This activity is partially supported by independent educational grants from Amgen, Bristol Myers Squibb and Merck.

In accordance with SSO Bylaws, the Annual Business Meeting will be held during the SSO Annual Cancer Symposium. Please join us at the San Diego Convention Center for reports on the state of the Society from the Executive Leadership. We’ll announce new members, present several awards, and introduce the incoming President.

Meeting details are as follows:

  • Date: Saturday, March 30, 2019
  • Time: 3 – 3:30 pm (Pacific)
  • Location: San Diego Convention Center; Room 31ABC
  • Purpose: To present the state of the Society

Please plan to join us at this important annual Society event! Questions? Contact Andrea King, Manager of Governance and Member Engagement via email at andreaking@surgonc.org.

Issue 5 2018

The SSO 2018 – 2020 Strategic Plan is well underway and several Society Committees and Task Forces have been focusing on achieving goals that will expand resources, increase member value and strengthen SSO’s position in the global cancer community. In this issue of SURGONConnect, you’ll hear specifics about the plan goals from fellow members.

SSO President Armando E. Giuliano, MD provides a brief summary of accomplishments in this video update.

After months of conference calls, in June 2018 the Annual Symposium Reimagination Task Force met for 1 ½ days to have an exstensive discussion about all aspects of the Annual Cancer Symposium experience. Task Force Chair, James Howe, MD said, “Our challenge was to take a great clinical meeting and find new ways to enhance and deliver not only educational value, but also to create an environment that fosters a greater level of engagement and community.” During this meeting Task Force members reviewed years of attendee data. This data was a deep dive into all aspects of the meeting – from use of the mobile app to session attendance, from networking events to exhibit hall functions, from invited lecturers to registration rates – no topic was off limits.

The Task Force presented a full report and recommendations during the Executive Council meeting that was held in October during the 2018 ACS Clinical Congress. A total of 28 recommendations were approved that covered various topics including registration, education experience, networking, exhibit hall and technology. While several of these recommendations will be implemented during the 2020 meeting, several new concepts will be introduced at SSO 2019; including, a new registration category for residents and medical students, shortening symposia and parallel sessions to 90 minutes, increased networking opportunities and an increase in ePosters.

SSO 2019 Scientific Program Chair, Sanjay Bagaria, MD said, “The Reimagination Task Force was a diverse group of surgical oncologists from academic and community settings, and research and non-research institutions. These unique perspectives, along with a comprehensive data-driven analysis of past meetings have enabled new ideas to emerge and be implemented in the upcoming meeting. I hope that SSO 2019 attendees will leave the symposium feeling inspired, wiser and better connected to cancer surgeons from around the globe.”

2017 Clinical Investigator Award Recipients Present Work at SSO 2019

2017 Clinical Investigator Award recipients will also present an update on their funded research projects. Metabolic Reprogramming in Sarcoma – Repurposing Statins as Anticancer Agents is Dr. Rebecca Gladdy’s research project. Since receiving the CIA, her team has uncovered that metabolic reprogramming, the process whereby cancer cells are able to bypass normal cellular function so that they can survive in more stressed conditions, is important in several types of common adult sarcomas. Dr. Gladdy said, “We think that types of pathways that have been documented genetically to be abnormal in sarcoma predispose them to becoming more sensitive to drugs that inhibit these metabolic processes such as the use of statins, or cholesterol lowering agents.”

During SSO 2019, she will describe that using functional drug screens is a useful way to try to identify novel drug targets or in some cases helps re-purpose drugs used for other more common human diseases for cancer therapies. Dr. Gladdy said, “With the support of our CIA funded grant, we have been able to test other common types of adult sarcoma and think we understand why statin therapies work in some sarcomas and not others.”

Genevieve Boland, MD, PhD is presenting the findings of her research, Tumor and Immune Monitoring via Exosomal Analysis in Patients on Targeted Therapy with Anti-PD1 Immunotherapy. Instead of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) or cell-free DNA as a monitoring tool, Dr. Boland and her research team have been using circulating micro-vesicles, which are secreted by a variety of cell types including immune cells and tumor cells. Because they are protected from degradation in circulation, they contain intact RNA and allow for a dynamic read out of changes in tumor- and immune-cell states in real time. Her lab has the ability to benchmark these circulating changes to tumors and to compare the signatures in the blood to clinical outcomes.

Dr. Boland said, “One of the big, but pleasant surprises of the research was that we found that immune contribution seems to be more important in distinguishing response from non-response, and that would not have been detected with the other monitoring techniques like circulating-tumor cells or cell-free DNA.” During SSO 2019, Dr. Boland will further describe the use of this approach as part of a clinical trial and how this may impact immuno-oncology in the future. Dr. Boland said, “Receiving the CIA has allowed me to take preliminary data and apply it in a more clinically relevant setting, which I hope will allow us to operationalize these approaches and bring them one step closer to the clinic.”

Achieving SSO’s mission to improve multidisciplinary patient care by advancing the science, education and practice of cancer surgery worldwide is not possible without a membership that is inclusive of all cancer surgeons. Ensuring a welcoming environment that fosters meaningful engagement, a sense of community and recognition are objectives of the Strategic Plan goal of membership.

One objective of the Membership Strategic Plan goal is to investigate the development of a Fellow of the SSO designation. A Work Group, led by Tari King, MD, as Chair and Julie Ann Sosa, MD as Vice Chair, held a Town Hall meeting at the recent ACS Clinical Congress. During this program they presented the rationale and proposed criteria for the designation. Over 75 SSO members attended the meeting that concluded with a constructive Q&A period. Based on comments from the meeting, Work Group members will continue to refine this proposed program and plan an additional input session during the SSO Town Hall and Business Meeting to be held at SSO 2019 on Saturday, March 30, 2019.

The recently launched membership campaign, SSO Much More, highlights the value of membership, not only through educational programs, but also through the global leadership of the Society and the impact of networking and community. The campaign features brief testimonials from several members. Watch for the emails or visit SSO’s YouTube channel to view the videos.

The SSO, in collaboration with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), presented a joint session at the World Cancer Congress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia that highlighted how surgical and medical education is an important investment in building a sustainable cancer care workforce, yet it is one of the most neglected areas, especially in low-income countries. The SSO/ESSO Global Curriculum in Surgical Oncology and ASCO/ESMO Global Curriculum in Medical Oncology were introduced and presented in this session that attracted a diverse audience which included surgeons, physicians, health policy and advocacy professionals and officials from global health organizations.

The Q&A discussion following the presentations reinforced the extreme difficulty in training surgeons to practice safe cancer surgery in remote areas and confirmed the need to develop a tool to assist with the implementation of the Global Curriculum in Surgical Oncology. SSO International Committee Chair, Chandrakanth Are, MD, noted that attendees were appreciative of the curriculum and said, “This was a very successful session for SSO and demonstrated its emergence on the global stage as a leader for cancer surgery. Had the SSO not presented at the World Cancer Congress, this curriculum would not have reached the broader audience it was intended for. Within two years of the SSO becoming a member of the Union for International Cancer Control, the SSO was able to make a good impact and enhance its global visibility and image.”

Dr. Are envisions that SSO will continue to actively participate in future World Cancer Congresses and continue to establish itself as the global society that is leading the way to address disparities and inequities in surgical care for cancer patients. This continued collaboration would also result in the SSO and the Global Forum of Cancer Surgeons (GFCS) being recognized as the leaders in cancer surgery by global entities such as the World Health Organization and the Union for International Cancer Control. This objective is expected to be one of the agenda items that will be discussed at the third annual meeting of the GFCS that will take place at SSO 2019 in San Diego, California.

Another approach that the SSO has taken to address international educational disparities is through the programs that are offered to SSO members. The SSO International Committee is charged with the oversight of these programs and SSO International Committee member Rebecca Auer, MD, notes, “The SSO recognizes that cancer is a global problem and while infrastructure, resources and even biology often differ, many of the challenges we face are the same. There is an incredible opportunity to learn from each other by sharing ideas, data and creative solutions. Fostering these collaborations is allowing the SSO to create a global network and I expect that future efforts will include a coordinated plan to address the global cancer epidemic.”

For additional information on SSO’s global programs and initiatives, please visit our website. For more information about how your global society can join the GFCS, please email GFCS@surgonc.org.

Did you know that SSO’s learning management system, ExpertED@SSO, has had more than 10,000 visits by over 1,200 physicians? If you haven’t visited the site, take a few moments to check out more than 75 educational programs. SSO’s Education Council Vice Chair Glenda Calendar, MD, said, “One activity that I find extremely valuable on ExpertED is the SSO 2018 Virtual Meeting. This is a great way to review session content, or if you didn’t attend the SSO 2018, you have easy access to the most current clinical information.”

Career-long education, recertification and quality patient care make up the strategic plan’s education goal. The SSO Education Council is committed to the development of 50 new educational programs for ExpertED over the next two years. Some of these programs will leverage new research presented during the Annual Cancer Symposium, as well as research published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology. In order to ensure the development of the most relevant programs, the Education Council is comprised of Disease Site Work Group Chairs and members of other SSO Committees and reviews proposals brought forward by internal or external stakeholders.

Listed below are a few upcoming ExpertED@SSO programs that are free to members.

Current Controversies in Neoadjuvant Therapy for Borderline Resectable and Locally Advanced Pancreatic Cancer, November 26, 2018 at 5:30 pm EST
This webinar will identify the benefits of neoadjuvant therapy in patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), compare options for neoadjuvant therapy and have a better understanding of how to assess current practices. Faculty for this program include Clifford Cho, MD, Theodore S. Hong, MD, Christina R. Ferrone, MD and Robert A. Wolff, MD.

Current Management of the Axilla in Breast Cancer, December 10, 2018 at 6:00 pm EST 
Prospective trials have established new options for managing the axillary nodes in patients with breast cancer, but appropriate options vary based on clinical presentation, planned surgical procedure and timing of surgery and chemotherapy. Surgeons need to understand when axillary dissection is indicated for nodal metastases and when sentinel node biopsy alone is appropriate as well as to identify patients most likely to avoid axillary dissection through the use of neoadjuvant therapy.  Faculty for this program are: Monica Morrow, MD, Armando Giuliano, MD and Melissa Pilewski, MD.

Adjuvant Therapy in High Risk Melanoma, on December 13, 2018 at 5:00 pm EST 
The staging of melanoma has changed and has impact on care decisions, which have evolved across disease stages. Participants in this program will be better able to identify changes in the staging system and understand adjuvant treatment options and proper indications related to BRAF negative patients. Faculty for this program are: Richard White, Jr., MD, Genevieve Boland, MD, PhD, Mary Sue Brady, MD and Jeffrey Sosman, MD.

The foundation of a healthy Society has many components, one of which is a strong brand identity. A strong brand image enables members to understand and remember the value that it offers. SSO’s strategic plan recognizes the need for all members to understand how the Society provides benefits across a number of areas. Over the last several months, the Brand Development Task Force worked to define the value that SSO provides. Task Force Chair, Robert Martin, II, MD, PhD said, “The composition of the Task Force was very inclusive, with representatives from different career stages, academic and community settings and from different countries.” Dr. Martin further explains, “A key reason to have a brand identity is to have a defined foundation for what it means to be an SSO member. Members have an internal reason or goal for joining, but it may be hard to articulate the benefits when asked. My goal is that the brand identity will unify all members of the Society and that members will have a consistent understanding of the benefits the Society provides.” Task Force member Margo Shoup, MD, said, “The open dialogue among the members of the Task Force enabled us to look at issues from all angles and despite our varied backgrounds, we were able to come to consensus on a number of topics. I’m very excited about how we have defined the value that SSO provides and the need for the Society to be inclusive of all surgeons who treat cancer.”

The Brand Development Task Force presented their recommendations for a new brand identity to the Executive Council’s October meeting, which were enthusiastically received. Look for the new identity at SSO 2019.

Approximately six years ago, SSO became an independently managed Society. Since that time the organization has grown and offers several best-in-class resources to members. The operational necessities required to maintain a productive Society were not overlooked in the Strategic Plan. Capital investments including an expanded office and new technologies including accounting system upgrades are in the works to ensure that delivery of member services and benefits continues to grow. SSO CEO, M. Eileen Widmer, CAE, CFRM, said, “There is a methodical and collaborative process in place with the SSO Finance Committee to ensure budget planning and capital investments are aligned with the Strategic Plan. While there are many initiatives in the three-year plan, sequencing the expenditures over the duration of the plan allows for ongoing assessment and fine tuningof operational and technological needs.”

SSO members can learn more about the Society’s operational plans by attending the next SSO Town Hall and Business meeting during SSO 2019 on Saturday, March 30, 2019.  

Register Now for Upcoming Meetings

Save the date! SSO is launching a full-day CGSO Board Exam Review Course, taking place January 26, 2019 in Chicago, IL at the Hilton O’Hare. The course is available to CGSO fellows, breast oncology fellows, and surgical residents, as well as practicing surgical oncologists who wish to undergo a refresher or update. Learn more about this program, which includes a mock oral exam session.


The 14th International Symposium on Regional Cancer Therapiesis being held on February 16–18, 2019 in Phoenix, AZ. This International Symposium will serve as a comprehensive forum to promote research, development and application of regional cancer therapies.


Register now for SSO 2019, March 27–30, 2019 in San Diego, CA. SSO 2019 will feature an education program that covers, research developments, clinical trials, new technology, and future trends in cancer care. Much of what you’ll learn you’ll be able to immediately integrate into your treatment of patients. Featured lecturers include SSO President, Armando E. Giuliano, MD, Monica Morrow, MD and Lieping Chen, MD, PhD. SSO 2019 will also provide enhanced networking opportunities so that you have more time to meet casually with colleagues and old friends.


SSO Partners with ASCO for Gastrointestinal Cancer Symposium, January 17 – 19, 2019 in San Francisco. SSO Immediate Past President, Kelly McMasters, MD, PhD delivers the keynote lecture: The Fundamental Difference Between Palliative Treatment and Palliative Care. Learn more and register.