The Division of Surgical Oncology and Endocrine Surgery remains committed to providing medical students with a comprehensive experience in all aspects of the treatment of breast and endocrine diseases, soft tissue tumors, and gastrointestinal malignancies.
During the third-year surgical clerkship, a subset of students rotates on the service where they are exposed to all components of the inpatient service including daily rounds, outpatient clinic, participation in operative cases, multidisciplinary management conferences and departmental and divisional teaching conferences.
Students may choose to pursue a one-month clinical elective during their fourth year. This rotation provides in-depth exposure to both inpatient and outpatient surgical oncology and endocrine surgery. Participants are encouraged to follow patients through the entire treatment course and to assume greater responsibility for patient care. This includes more direct involvement in operative and postoperative care as well as taking call with junior residents to learn the patient evaluation and management skills necessary for surgical house officers. The senior elective is designed especially for students considering a career in general surgery. It has also been completed by students planning careers in other specialties who are seeking to broaden their knowledge and experience in surgical oncology and endocrine surgery.
The Division of Surgical Oncology is an integral part of the residency in General Surgery and provides intensive training in the management of patients with a variety of solid tumors. Residents at all levels have an exposure to surgical oncology cases. Besides a large operative experience with common as well as unusual tumors, residents receive outpatient experience in the surgical evaluation, preoperative planning and follow-up of a wide range of cancer patients.
The surgical oncology experience includes the outpatient evaluation of benign and malignant breast disorders in the Vanderbilt Breast Center, as well as disorders and tumors of the thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, adrenal glands, and pancreas through the Vanderbilt Endocrine Surgery Center. Emphasis is placed on the multidisciplinary approach in the care of the cancer patient, and there is close interaction with the Divisions of Radiation Oncology, Medical Oncology, Gynecologic Oncology, Hematology, and Surgical Pathology.
Currently general surgery residents rotate on the service at the PGY 1, 3, and 5 levels:
• General Surgery (Oncology/Endocrine) (R1) - VUMC
• General Surgery (Breast/Plastics) (R3) - VUMC
• General Surgery (Endocrine) (R3) - VUMC
• General Surgery (Oncology/Endocrine) (R5) - VUMC
Faculty members from the division play an important role in a variety of other educational programs locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Within the Medical Center, this includes lectures for several undergraduate medical classes including the introduction to physical diagnosis course and presentations on the surgical treatment of malignancies for the medical oncology and radiation oncology fellows.
They serve as preceptors for advance practice nursing students and participate in a novel program for cancer biology graduate students. Community outreach is a major focus for the division including CME presentations at regional hospitals and participation in a variety of educational symposia locally and nationally.