National Surgical Oncologist Day in the United States Date in the current year: August 22, 2024

National Surgical Oncologist Day in the United States National Surgical Oncologist Day is an annual professional observance dedicated to doctors who specialize in the removal of tumors, especially malignant ones. It is celebrated annually on August 22.

There are many types of cancer treatments, but surgical removal of the tumor is almost always the primary treatment for many cancers, except for hematological cancers for an obvious reason. Tumor removal surgery is the oldest known cancer treatment; there is evidence of such surgeries being performed in ancient Egypt.

The branch of surgery that focuses on the surgical removal of tumors is called surgical oncology. Like its name suggests, it lies at the intersection of two branches of medicine, surgery and oncology. There is a heated debate as to whether surgical oncology constitutes a separate medical specialty per se, clinical trials have shown that the more cancer surgeries a surgeon performs, the higher their patients’ survival rates are.

In addition to removing malignant and benign tumors, surgical oncologists perform surgeries to determine the extent of cancer (cancer staging) and alleviate symptoms. Surgical oncologists also perform biopsies and preventive surgeries, for example, prophylactic mastectomy in women who are genetically predisposed to breast cancer or have already had cancer in one breast.

To promote their field, surgical oncologists founded the Society of Surgical Oncology, originally named the James Ewing Society after James Ewing, a pioneer in experimental oncology who is best known for discovering Ewing sarcoma and co-founding the American Cancer Society.

To become a surgical oncologist, a medical school graduate needs to complete residency in general surgery and then complete a fellowship in surgical oncology. The American Board of Medical Specialties allowed the American Board of Surgery to certify surgeons in complex general surgical oncology in 2011.

Since it is impossible to be proficient in the removal of all malignant and benign tumors, some surgical oncologists specialize in particular cancers. For example, gynecologic oncologists specialize in the management of cancers that affect female reproductive organs, thoracic surgical oncologists specialize in the removal of tumors found inside the chest, etc. Some surgical oncologists specialize in specific age groups, typically pediatrics.

National Surgical Oncologist Day was created in 2019 by Jenni Cherlin and the Lean on Me Breast Cancer Network. The date of the observance was chosen to commemorate Dr. Dwight C. De Risi, a prominent surgical oncologist who specializes in breast diseases and co-founder of the Lean on Me Breast Cancer Network.

How can you observe National Surgical Oncologist Day? If you know a surgical oncologist, congratulate them on their professional holiday and thank them for everything they’ve done for their patients. You also can celebrate by giving a shout out to all surgical oncologists on social media, donating to a cancer charity of your choice, and raising awareness of the importance of cancer screening, because the earlier the surgery is performed, the higher the chance of a favorable outcome.

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National Surgical Oncologist Day in the United States, professional holidays, observances in the US, surgical oncology