Survey of Surgical Oncology Fellowship Graduates 2005–2016: Insight into Initial Practice

  • Samantha Ruff
  • Sadia Ilyas
  • Seth M. Steinberg
  • Zaria Tatalovich
  • Sarah A. McLaughlin
  • Michael D’Angelica
  • Chandrajit P. Raut
  • Keith A. Delman
  • Jonathan M. Hernandez
  • Jeremy L. DavisEmail author
Health Services Research and Global Oncology



Despite burgeoning interest in Complex General Surgical Oncology (CGSO) fellowship training, little is reported about postgraduate employment. The goal of this study was to characterize CGSO graduates’ first employment and to identify factors that influenced this decision.


The National Cancer Institute (NCI) and Society of Surgical Oncology developed and distributed an electronic survey to CGSO fellows who graduated from 2005 to 2016.


The survey response rate was 47% (237/509). Fifty-seven percent of respondents were first employed as faculty surgeons at a university-based/affiliated hospital, with 15% returning to their residency institution. The distribution of respondents’ current employment across the United States mirrored the locations of their hometowns. Eighty-five percent of respondents care for patients across at least three disease types, most commonly hepatopancreatobiliary (81%), esophagus/gastric (75%), and sarcoma (74%). Twenty-seven percent of respondents spend the majority of their time in one area of surgical oncology; melanoma, breast, and head/neck were the most common. Two-thirds of respondents (67%) reported that they performed either clinical or basic science research as part of their current position. Multiple factors influenced the decision of first faculty position.


Most CGSO graduates are employed at academic medical centers across the country in proximity to NCI-designated centers, treat a variety of disease types, and spend a percentage of their time dedicated to clinical research.



This research was supported in part by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute.



Supplementary material

10434_2019_7220_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (156 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 156 kb)


  1. 1.
    Berman RS, Weigel RJ. Training and certification of the surgical oncologist. Chin Clin Oncol. 2014;3(4):45.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Heslin MJ, Coit DG, Brennan MF. Surgical oncology fellowship: viable pathway to academic surgery? Ann Surg Oncol. 1999;6(6):542–5.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Lee DY, Flaherty DC, Lau BJ, et al. Attitudes and perceptions of surgical oncology fellows on ACGME accreditation and the complex general surgical oncology certification. Ann Surg Oncol. 2015;22(12):3776–84.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    National Cancer Institute. NCI Designated Cancer Centers. Accessed 7 July 2018.
  5. 5.
    Institute of Medicine. Delivering High-Quality Cancer Care: Charting a New Course for a System in Crisis. Washington DC: The National Academies Press, 2013.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Institute of Medicine. Ensuring Quality Cancer Care Through the Oncology Workforce: Sustaining Research and Care in the 21st Century: Workshop Summary. Washington DC: The National Academies Press, 2009.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Tabrizian P, Overbey J, Carrasco-Avino G, Bagiella E, Labow DM, Sarpel U. Escalation of socioeconomic disparities among patients with colorectal cancer receiving advanced surgical treatment. Ann Surg Oncol. 2015;22(5):1746–50.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Mossanen M, Izard J, Wright JL, et al. Identification of underserved areas for urologic cancer care. Cancer 2014;120(10):1565–71.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Wang N, Cao F, Liu F, et al. The effect of socioeconomic status on health-care delay and treatment of esophageal cancer. J Transl Med. 2015;13:241.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Balch CM, Shanafelt TD, Sloan J, Satele DV, Kuerer HM. Burnout and career satisfaction among surgical oncologists compared with other surgical specialties. Ann Surg Oncol. 2011;18(1):16–25.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kuerer HM, Eberlein TJ, Pollock RE, et al. Career satisfaction, practice patterns, and burnout among surgical oncologists: report on the quality of life of members of the Society of Surgical Oncology. Ann Surg Oncol. 2007;14(11):3043–53.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Society of Surgical Oncology. Surgical Oncology Training Program Requirements. Accessed 7 July 2018.
  13. 13.
    Rangel SJ, Efron B, Moss RL. Recent trends in National Institutes of Health funding of surgical research. Ann Surg. 2002;236(3):277–87.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Mann M, Tendulkar A, Birger N, Howard C, Ratcliffe MB. National Institutes of Health funding for surgical research. Ann Surg. 2008;247(2):217–21.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Evers BM. The evolving role of the surgeon scientist. J Am Coll Surg. 2014;220(4):387–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Wach MM, Ruff S, Ayabe RI, et al. An examination of applicants and factors associated with matriculation to complex general surgical oncology fellowship training programs. Ann Surg Oncol. (Online July 27, 2018).CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Society of Surgical Oncology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samantha Ruff
    • 1
  • Sadia Ilyas
    • 1
  • Seth M. Steinberg
    • 1
  • Zaria Tatalovich
    • 1
  • Sarah A. McLaughlin
    • 2
  • Michael D’Angelica
    • 3
  • Chandrajit P. Raut
    • 4
  • Keith A. Delman
    • 5
  • Jonathan M. Hernandez
    • 1
  • Jeremy L. Davis
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Surgical Oncology Program, Center for Cancer ResearchNational Cancer Institute, NIHBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Mayo Clinic College of MedicineRochesterUSA
  3. 3.Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer CenterNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Dana-Farber Cancer InstituteBostonUSA
  5. 5.Emory University School of MedicineAtlantaUSA

Personalised recommendations