The Surgical Oncology Group represents the general professional interests of surgical oncologists and provides a convenient contact point for other colleges and societies of surgeons. The group is closely linked to the Surgical Oncology Group of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.
Within COSA are site-specific groups that provide for multidisciplinary exchanges. Membership involvement in these groups is encouraged.
What is surgical oncology?
Surgical oncology is surgical discipline concerned with the care of the patient with solid cancers. It involves the planned and coordinated surgical care of the cancer patient. A surgical oncologist is trained in the principles of multidisciplinary care and multi-modality treatment options, including medical and radiation oncology and palliative care. The training, expertise and practice of a surgical oncologist may be within a defined area (eg breast, upper GI, melanoma or colorectal surgery) or across several tumour types (eg melanoma, sarcoma and breast).
The practice of surgical oncology is underpinned by sound knowledge of basic tumour biology and the natural history of various cancers, and the likely effects of sequence(s) or combinations of different treatment approaches.
Surgical oncology is an essential part of a general surgical practice, but also includes a number of sub-specialist surgical specialties, with a specific interest on surgery for the treatment of cancer.
About the group
Members of the group are usually Fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, trained in general surgery or a sub-specialty, who have a special interest and expertise in cancer management. The COSA Surgical Oncology group was formed at about the same time as the RACS Surgical Oncology Section in 1999, in recognition of the increasing complexity in the management of various cancers.
Surgical oncology embraces the management of cancer in a multidisciplinary framework – internationally recognised as the standard of care for patients with cancer. This relies on coordination of surgery with medical and radiation oncologists, cancer nurses and palliative care specialists, together with input from diagnostic specialties such as pathology and radiology. The Surgical Oncology Group includes many sub-specialty disciplines and importantly also supports those areas of cancer surgery that do not have a separate identifiable discipline.
One of the main aims of the Surgical Oncology Group is to facilitate dialogue and collaboration across discipline boundaries, not only among surgical sub-specialties, but also other areas of non-surgical medical practice.
The Surgical Oncology Group has about 70 members who meet to develop education, research trial opportunities in clinical practice of the surgical care of cancer patients.
The focus and aims of the Surgical Oncology Group include:
- Education and professional development
- Comprehensive cancer care
- Multidisciplinary framework of care
- Solid foundations in the science and clinical management of cancers
- Research facilitation, particularly in multi-centre clinical trials
- Voicing the needs and requirements of cancer surgeons and patients
- Provide career pathways for surgeons
- National and international collaboration
We are dedicated to the multidisciplinary philosophy of COSA, and so work with other COSA sections and encourage membership of other groups. Most Surgical Oncology group members are also members of other international surgical (and other) societies.
Our most important affiliation is with the Surgical Oncology Group of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. The Chair of the COSA Surgical Oncology Group is a member of the executive of the RACS Surgical Oncology Group to ensure close communication. The program for the Surgical Oncology Group at the RACS Annual Scientific Meeting is designed to complement that of the COSA ASM.
Executive of Surgical Oncology group
A/Prof Susan Neuhaus is the Chair of the Surgical Oncology Group.
The Surgical Oncology Group Chair is supported by the Executive Committee of the RACS Surgical Oncology Section that can offer advice when required.
Past Chair(s)/ President(s):
Professor Robert Thomas
Professor Bruce Mann
Advisory panel and bodies
Members of the Surgical Oncology group contribute to the development and design of cancer care in Australia, New Zealand and further abroad. Regular contribution to COSA on Council and at the annual COSA ASM provides input towards national cancer management strategies.
Surgical oncology members also contribute to numerous National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) committees, including those developing and revising current NHMRC Practice Guidelines for many types of cancers and through Government advisory panels.
Join COSA now
Contact COSA for more information about this group.
Each year, diverse opportunities for professional development in numerous areas of cancer treatment, across the breadth of surgical and many other disciplines, specifically at the COSA Annual Scientific Meeting. In addition, there are workshops and courses provided through affiliated groups and societies nationally and internationally. Our many links promote such exchanges and training.
The main academic and educational activity is the COSA Annual Scientific Meeting held in November each year, where Surgical Oncology group members, distinguished visitors and others present research and other papers. These often have broad educational and scientific value for busy clinicians from many areas. Many members also attend national and overseas conferences to present their work to others and learn new information and approaches.
Postgraduate education is the main emphasis of COSA activities and surgical oncology teaching is provided to many interest groups within and outside COSA including surgical trainees. Surgical training in Australia and New Zealand is undergoing a major change, and the Surgical Oncology Group has agreed to initiate a surgical oncology teaching module to be delivered each year in conjunction with the annual meeting of General Surgeons of Australia.
Members of the Surgical Oncology Group are involved in undergraduate medical education and in curricular development in many Australasian medical schools.
Community education is another essential pursuit of Surgical Oncology group members to inform and educate the public on matters of importance in cancer care and prevention. This is performed using a variety of media and collaborative platforms, including Cancer Council Australia and the RACS.
Outreach Services are a key function provided by many members of the Surgical Oncology group to country regions and remote areas to facilitate improved delivery of cancer care and education to regional Australia.
International missions to Asian hospitals have been achieved allowing surgical procedures to be performed in these countries educating local surgeons and staff in surgical oncology.