The division of Surgical Oncology was established in 2003 to promote excellence in cancer surgery across Europe.
Cancer surgery is a complex discipline, crossing boundaries of organ specialisation and including breast, colorectal, melanoma, upper GI, hepatopancreatobiliary, thoracic, urology and neurosurgery.
The management of cancer in all disease sites shares a common theme of multidisciplinarity and more than any other type of surgery requires the surgeon to work as part of a complex team. Cancer surgeons must understand the aetiology, molecular biology, diagnostics, medical and radiation oncology, psychology and surgery and aftercare.
To learn more about the European Society of Surgical Oncology, check out their website here
The UEMS Surgical Oncology exam is designed to certify that a surgeon has knowledge across the breadth of cancer surgery with advanced level expertise in their own specialist discipline. The standard of the exam is set at the level of a fully qualified cancer specialist surgeon working to the latest European quality standards and protocols. The exam is designed to evaluate both a candidate’s theoretical and factual knowledge and their ability to apply this knowledge in the surgical and non-surgical elements of modern multidisciplinary cancer care. The exam is designed to measure a candidate’s surgical judgment, clinical reasoning skills and problem-solving ability. The range of subjects areas covered in the exam are set out in the ESSO Core Curriculum and more recently aligned with the global curriculum for cancer surgery developed jointly between ESSO and the US Society for Surgical Oncology.
A surgical oncologist is an oncologist who also possesses the expertise to perform operative procedures and interventions. As such, he is expected to possess the required knowledge of the basic principles and tenets of multi-disciplinary cancer management: epidemiology, screening, diagnostic pathology, medical imaging, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, palliative care, interventional radiology and endoscopy. Knowledge of the principles of basic, translational and clinical research are also required.
The surgical oncologist should be technically proficient in the art, science and principles of surgical procedures and there is an inevitable requirement for a degree of experiential learning to acquire practical skills. The level of technical proficiency is assessed in the first phase of the exam: eligibility assessment. This establishes whether the candidate has completed their training in surgical oncology, as certified by their national surgical regulatory body. In addition, on review of their signed operative log book, candidates must demonstrate experience of having performing complex cancer surgery both with and without senior supervision. Once eligibility is confirmed, candidates will be invited to take the written and oral examinations.
These will test the candidate’s knowledge of basic and complex surgical procedures for treating malignancies of various organ systems, the principles of clinically relevant anatomy and medical imaging applicable to surgical procedures, the extent of resection for primary lesions and metastatic lesions (including an understanding of how to assess margins and different levels of adequacy such as RO, R1 and R2) and the appropriate extent of lymphadenectomy ranging from nodal sampling, sentinel node biopsy and different levels of lymphadenectomy for various cancers. Candidates will be expected to display knowledge of the latest research evidence in support of their case management and will be tested on their ability to understand published research in an academic oral exam.
Knowledge of the role of and indications for non-curative debulking surgery as an important part of palliative care is also required. In addition a range of palliative surgeries and their indications should be understood (palliative bypass surgery, stenting, toilette mastectomy for a fungating locally advanced cancer), as well as the non surgical pallitaive alternatives. This require close cooperation between the surgical oncologist, medical and radiation oncologists and the palliative and supportive care teams.
A surgical oncologist should possess a working knowledge across all malignancies involving each specific disease site such as the digestive system, endocrine system, breast, soft tissues, skin, chest and reproductive system. However, in this era of organ specific surgery and cancer management and with the increasingly complex management algorithms and techniques available candidates may specify up to 3 sub-specialist areas of expertise which will form the focus of the oral examination. In some cases, candidates who have a very clear practice specialisation within only one area may also now take a UEMS EBSQ examination within this discipline only (please, see other UEMS surgical divisions for the full range of EBSQ examinations).
It is hoped that the exam will ultimately lead to an increase in the level of expertise of cancer surgery across Europe, not only as a result of the process of leaning required to pass the exam but also by harmonising the standard of care offered to cancer patients across Europe. Examiners are leaders in the field of cancer surgery drawn from across Europe.
Past Chair of the UEMS Division of Surgical Oncology
Chair of the ESSO Education and Training Committee
Chair of the UEMS Division of Surgical Oncology
The Division of Surgical Oncology is part of the UEMS Section of Surgery. The Division operates in close collaboration with European Society of Surgical Oncology (ESSO). The Division advises on issues related to training and professional practice in surgical oncology, for the benefit of training in surgical oncology and patient care. The Division also organizes and conduct in cooperation with ESSO the EBSQ exam in Surgical Oncology
The Division of Surgical Oncology is under the auspices and the authority of the Section of Surgery of the UEMS.
The Division will be known as the Division of Surgical Oncology of the Section of Surgery of the UEMS.
The Division will include up to 2 representatives that is national delegates, from each country that is a member of the UEMS through its National Medical Association. The nomination has to be done following the official communication of the relevant National Medical Association with the UEMS and as well as the Executive Committee of the Division.
The Division also includes members of the Education and Training Committee (ETC) of the ESSO. The Division shall elect an Executive Committee (EC). The members of the EC are nominated from the current or past members of the ETC included in the Division. The EC will include:
The EC also includes:the Chair of the ETC of ESSO,
the Chair af the Membership Committee of ESSO,
as an ex-officio members, even if not contributing in the aforementioned positions.
This close collaboration with ESSO ensures the highest standards with the content that is up-to-date with current standards of care as well communication and cooperation with societies which do not have national delegates in Division but are affiliated members of ESSO.
The tenure of the national representatives in the Division of Surgical Oncology (including the representatives of ESSO) shall be for 2 years, as a rule renewable only once.
Following the completion of their term, the members of the Division and the representatives of the ESSO are responsible for ensuring their succession following consultation with their professional organizations and ESSO respectively.
The Division holds a bank account in Euros in Belgium under the UEMS account. The Treasurer and the Chairman are the 2 authorised users of the account. The Treasurer and the second nominated user of the account have to present at the annual meeting of the Division a signed report of the account as well as copies of the bank statements of the account. The Treasurer and the second nominated user must also forward each annual report to the Treasurer of the Section of Surgery of the UEMS.
The European Board of Surgery Qualification in Surgical Oncology (EBSQ-Surgical Oncology), arranged through the Division of Surgical Oncology is held under the authority and responsibility of the European Board of Surgery. All EC members create and approve the questions, assess the eligibility of the candidates and examine the candidates. Depending on number of candidates, the EC may invite additional examiners and question writters. EC members and external examiners form the Exam Committee, the chair of the Division is automatically the chair of the Exam Committee.
The exam is organized at three levels, shared between UEMS and ESSO:
ESSO office is authorized to manage Division account for this purpose. All expenses related to the local organizing are covered from the Division account.
The EC Division shall have a meeting at least once per year. The usually date and place of the meeting will be a day before or after the oral part of the exam or during the ESSO ETC meeting. If necessary, meetings may be organized more than once a year. The meeting of the whole Division, including the national delegates will be organized together with the members of the membership committee of ESSO during the ESSO congress.
The Division is financed by the fees of the applicants for the two parts of the accreditation process: eligibility and examination. The external examiners as well as division members invited to contribute as EBSQ examiners, will have their travel and accommodation expenses reimbursed by the division. Division can be also be financed by any legal financial benefits for its contribution to various professional/scientific activities (i.e. meetings, publications).