Surgical training in gynecologic oncology: Past, present, future

Mitchel S. Hoffman, Dennis S. Chi, Daniel L. Clarke-Pearson, William Cliby, William Creasman, Paul B. Underwood

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The purpose of this paper is to review the surgical care related to training in gynecologic oncology, from past, present and future perspectives. A marked decline in the incidence of cervical cancer as well as improvements in radiation therapy have led to a reduction in the numbers of radical hysterectomies and exenterations being performed. Utilization of neoadjuvant chemotherapy is reducing the extent of cytoreductive operations, including intestinal surgery. The incorporation of sentinel lymphatic mapping has reduced the number of pelvic, paraaortic and inguinal lymphadenectomies being performed. Coupled with these changes are other factors limiting time for surgical training including an explosion in targeted anticancer therapies and more individualized options beyond simple cytotoxic therapy. With what is likely to be a sustained impact on training, gynecologic oncologists will still provide a broad range of care for women with gynecologic cancer but may be quite limited in surgical scope and rely on colleagues from other surgical disciplines. Enhancement of surgical training by off-service rotations, simulation, attending advanced surgical training courses and/or a longer duration of training are currently incorporated into some programs. Programs must ensure that fellows take full advantage of the clinical materials available, particularly those related to the potential deficiencies described. Changing required research training to an additional elective year could also be considered. Based on the perspectives noted, we believe it is time for our subspecialty to reevaluate its scope of surgical training and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-193
Number of pages6
JournalGynecologic oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • Future needs
  • Historical perspective
  • Surgical training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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