About Our Program
The Saint John’s Cancer Institute (formerly the John Wayne Cancer Institute) has a rich history in surgical oncology training and innovative cancer research. Over the years, the institute has been outstanding in training leaders in the fields of surgical breast oncology and complex general surgical oncology. The institute is well known around the world for the development of the sentinel lymph node biopsy technique for breast and melanoma along with many other advances in translational research and treatment of solid tumors. On January 1, 2021, The John Wayne Cancer Institute formally changed its name to Saint John’s Cancer Institute but the continued dedication from our talented physicians and researchers that built the world-renowned reputation in cancer care remains. With our new name comes with it new energy and dedication to train the Breast Oncologists of tomorrow.
The Breast Surgical Oncology Fellowship at the Saint John’s Cancer Institute (SJCI) is offered selectively to one candidate a year who has graduated from an ACGME accredited General Surgery Residency Program and is board certified or board eligible. The goal of our surgical oncology fellowship is to provide a diverse and comprehensive exposure to the multidisciplinary aspects of breast cancer care and benign breast disease over a one-year time period with a potential second year for continuation of clinical or basic science research.
Our multidisciplinary approach to patient care at Providence Saint John’s Health Center and Saint John’s Cancer Institute aims to provide all fellows a comprehensive experience in breast cancer risk assessment, breast cancer screening, diagnostic workup, state-of-the-art multidisciplinary cancer treatments, and strategies for survivorship.
At the end of training, the fellow is expected to be a well-trained, competent, and comprehensive breast surgeon with specialized knowledge in the field of breast cancer care and benign breast disease.
Providence Saint John’s Health Center and the Saint John’s Cancer Institute are located in the heart of sunny Santa Monica, CA. Though we are a community hospital, we function like an academic institution that provides our patients access to novel clinical trials and investigator-initiated research through the Saint John’s Cancer Institute. Our program provides exposure to advanced oncoplastic surgical approaches performed by both our surgical breast oncologists and plastic surgeons. Our breast center, strategically located next to our breast imaging and radiation oncology departments, houses two ultrasound machines in the clinic, promoting skills in ultrasound-guided localization. We also use a wireless device and wire localization to provide broad exposure to different techniques. Fellows will also have experience with Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT), a technique used in breast conservation treatment.
The breast surgical rotations occur at Providence Saint John’s Health Center which include preoperative, perioperative, and postoperative assessment and care of all breast patients. Time is spent in the operating room learning all aspects of breast surgical oncology techniques including advanced level II oncoplastic approaches. The surgical experience is augmented by additional complimentary rotations, all of which are on site at Providence Saint John’s Health Center.
There are dedicated core rotations in breast surgery, medical oncology, pathology, radiation oncology, and breast imaging. The fellow will spend 5 months on the surgical service working with two fellowship-trained surgical breast oncologists and two fellowship-trained complex general surgical oncologists. During the surgical rotations, they will gain exposure to all breast reconstruction options including oncoplastic, implant, and tissue-based reconstruction. Additional rotations in breast rehabilitation, research, community service, psycho-oncology, social work, benign/high risk clinic, and genetics complete their training.
In addition to the clinical experiences, the breast fellow will attend a scheduled curriculum of didactic lectures, conferences, and journal club. Our diverse curriculum will not only include a comprehensive breast-specific education, but also include areas of biostatistics, bioethics, and psychosocial medicine throughout the year. During the weekly, multidisciplinary Breast Tumor Board, the breast fellow will present breast cancer patients for discussion, provide evidence-based treatment options, and review relevant literature.
The fellow will be expected to attend weekly research conferences with faculty, biostatisticians, scientific collaborators, and other fellows during which new research proposals will be discussed, and to present quarterly on ongoing projects with research mentors. The fellow will have the opportunity to write journal articles and may participate in writing research protocols and grant proposals. Our team will help fellows learn to evaluate scientific publications and how to prepare research results for submission to peer-reviewed medical/scientific journals. The fellow will be expected to participate in ongoing clinical research protocols and will be encouraged to present research findings at local and national meetings. We are part of theAlliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology and fellows will gain experience and understanding of collaborative trials.