General Surgical Oncology Program

General Surgical Oncology Program

WrightThe University of Toronto offers a 2-year academic fellowship in General Surgical Oncology (GSO) for fully trained General Surgeons. The fellowship is accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (1997) (status full accreditation 2013-2018), and recognized by the Society of Surgical Oncology (2003), and European Board of Surgical Oncology (2012). The program was founded in 1996 and has trained 44 Surgical Oncologists who now work in Academic and Community Institutions around the World. 

The GSO fellowship at the University of Toronto is dedicated to excellent patient care, research and education, offering high quality training for both sub-specialized Academic Surgical Oncologists and Community General Surgical Oncologists. The goal of the program is to train the local, national and international surgical oncology leaders of the future (clinical, research, and education leadership).

PGME Timelines: 

Once you have been accepted into a Fellowship Program, these are the timelines to expect from the Post Graduate Medical Education Office.  

Clinical Training
Application Process



Fellows in this program benefit from exposure from training at two cancer centres with distinct yet complementary strengths. These cancer centres serve the Greater Toronto Area (population 5.5 million) and are referral centres for complex cancer patients for the province of Ontario (12 million). Both centres are actively involved in clinical trials.
•  The Princess Margaret Comprehensive Cancer Centre, located in
   downtown Toronto sees 12 430 new cancer patients per year, and completes
   6447 cancer surgeries. 
•  Edmond Odette Regional Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook Health Sciences
   Centre, located uptown, serves 17181 new cancer patients per year, and
   completes 2727 cancer surgeries. 

The University of Toronto Surgical Oncology teaching network is also home for sub-specialized cancer programs serving the Ontario population. 
•  Sarcoma Program at Princess Margaret Comprehensive Cancer Centre and
    Mount Sinai Hospital 
•  Peritoneal Based Malignancies Program at Princess Margaret
    Comprehensive Cancer Centre and Mount Sinai Hospital 
•  Melanoma in-transit program at the Edmond Odette Cancer Centre      
    at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre 
•  Regional Hepatic Perfusion Program at the Edmond Odette Cancer Centre
    at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre 

Core rotations

   •  Sarcoma – Mount Sinai Hospital: 3 months (lead: Dr. Carol Swallow) 
   •  Peritoneal Based Malignancies – Mount Sinai Hospital: 3 months 
      (lead: Dr. Andrea McCart) 
   •  Breast/Melanoma – Princess Margaret Hospital (lead: Dr. David McCready)
      and/ or Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (lead: Dr. Frances Wright): 3
   •  Lower Gastrointestinal Malignancies – Sunnybrook Health Sciences
      Centre: 3 months (lead: Dr. Shady Ashamalla) 
   •  Upper Gastrointestinal/Hepato-Bilio-Pancreatic Malignancies –
      Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre: 3 months (lead: Dr. Calvin Law) 
   •  Radiation Oncology - University Health Network or Sunnybrook Health
      Sciences Centre: 1 month 
   •  Medical Oncology - University Health Network or Sunnybrook Health
      Sciences Centre: 1 month 
   •  Surgical Pathology – University Health Network: 1 month 

Tailored program

Recognizing that trainees will come from a number of different institutions with various volumes and patterns of activity and will work in a variety of settings, the program addresses distinct trainee needs. Fellows receive instruction that combines considerable individual attention and outstanding breadth of exposure, with comprehensive knowledge and technical skill that enable them to practice as General Surgical Oncologists in academic cancer centres, regional cancer centres or community hospitals. 

While completing the core rotations necessary to meet the requirement of the SSO and RCPSC training, fellows have the opportunity to tailor their training according to their 
clinical interests, through a variety of elective rotations. 

Examples of elective rotations 

   •  Robotic & Minimally Invasive GI Oncology – University Health Network 
   •  Minimally Invasive GI Oncology (community setting) – North York General
   •  Head & Neck Malignancy – University Health Network 
   •  Orthopedic sarcoma - Mount Sinai Hospital 
   •  International: 
           •  Gastric Cancer – Japan 
           •  Robotic Surgery – Korea & Hong-Kong 
           •  Advanced Minimally Invasive Surgery - France 
           •  Breast Oncoplasty – France 
   •  Research 
   •  Endoscopy – St. Michael’s Hospital 

HPB Surgical Oncology Track

Fellows interested in HPB Surgical Oncology have the opportunity to complete an 8-12 month rotation on the upper GI/HPB service. The program is accredited by the AHPBA for one 1-year HPB Surgical Oncology fellow, at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. This position is available to fellows accepted in the University of Toronto Surgical Oncology program. HPB Surgical Oncology fellows log their cases and are eligible to certification by the AHPBA in addition to Surgical Oncology certification. 

General Surgical Oncology Lecture Series

The formal education program includes a weekly core curriculum lecture and seminar series shared with the other surgical oncology disciplines, allowing GSO fellows to interact with Gynecologic Oncology, Urologic Oncology, Orthopedic Oncology, H&N Oncology and HPB/transplant fellows. 

The Lecture Series is planned by the Chief Fellows in collaboration with the Assistant Program Director and Program Director, to cover both clinical and non-clinical skills necessary to the Surgical Oncologist. It is based on a 2-year cycle to ensure that all fellows receive a comprehensive formal education during the course of the program. 

Surgical Oncology Manual

This Manual was authored by Faculty and Fellows, and reflects the current approach to the management of Surgical Oncology in General Surgery at the University of Toronto (published 2012). It provides a practical, up to date approach to the management of breast cancer, sarcoma, peritoneal malignancies, colon and rectal cancer, gastric cancer, NETs, melanoma, liver and pancreas cancer. The disease site chapters balance clinician experience and guidelines, with evidence-supported practice with seminal papers described in chart form within each chapter. It is used as the basis for the lecture curriculum for the fellows. The Surgical Oncology Manual is available at the University of Toronto Bookstore, St. George Campus and as an eBook for iPads via iTunes, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Copia, eSentral, Scribd and Sony. For more information about the manual, email    

Journal Clubs

Monthly Journal Clubs are organized by the Chief Fellows for the GSO program, allowing fellows to discuss key articles with invited experts. Themes are chosen to compliment the Lecture Series. 

SSO Videoconferences

The University of Toronto GSO program participates in the SSO Videoconference held every 3 months between all the North American surgical oncology programs. 

Other activities

Institutional rounds, tumour boards (multidisciplinary cancer conferences), conferences and teaching sessions that also include trainees in the University of Toronto General Surgery Residency program complement the Lecture Series and Journal Clubs. 

Surgical Oncology Bootcamp (1st year) 
First year Surgical Oncology fellows at the University of Toronto attend a 5-day bootcamp focusing on minimally invasive surgery skills in the first month of their fellowship. They will have sessions at the simulation centre at the Li-Ka-Shing Institute and ORs with surgeons who focus on minimally invasive GI surgery. 

Fellows Institute (2nd year) 
All second year fellows across North America have the opportunity to attend the Fellows Institute where they have simulated OR sessions and lectures 

Academic Calendar 2013-14 


Before the beginning of their first year, fellows are assigned a research mentor based on their research and clinical interests. The University of Toronto network offers many opportunities and strong support in various research areas, including clinical trials, outcome-based research, knowledge translation, economic analyses, qualitative studies, and basic sciences. It is expected that each fellow will complete at least one research project during the fellowship and that this project will be submitted for publication. 

Protected time
Fellows benefit from a half-day of protected research time per week on every rotation. In addition, 3-6 months can be set aside for participation in clinical or laboratory research projects. 

Research Presentations 

GSO Research Day: Once a year, GSO fellows present their work at the program research day. The Montgomery Best Paper award is given to the best presentation. 

GSO fellows also have the opportunity to present their work at the University of Toronto event such as Gallie Day and the Annual Assembly of General Surgeons. Finally, they are encouraged to submit their research for presentation at national and international meetings, such as the Canadian Society of Surgical Oncology, and the Annual Cancer Symposium of the SSO. 

Fellows Research Accomplishments 


(Fellowship training program) 

Mount Sinai Hospital 
•  Rebecca Gladdy(Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center) 
•  Anand Govindarajan (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center) 
•  Andrea McCart (National Institute of Health Clinical Centre) 
•  Carol Swallow (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center) 
•  Alexandra Easson (University of Toronto) 

University Health Network 
•  David McCready (MD Anderson Cancer Center) 
•  Fayez Quereshy (University of Toronto) 

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre 
•  Shady Ashamalla (University of Toronto) 
•  Natalie Coburn (University of Toronto) 
•  Darlene Fenech (University of Toronto) 
•  Claire Holloway (University of Toronto) 
•  Paul Karanicolas (Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Centre) 
•  Calvin Law (University of Toronto) 
•  Nicole Look-Hong (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute) 
•  Andy Smith (non clinical) (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre) 
•  Frances Wright (University of Toronto) 



    University of Toronto Surgical Oncology Fellows 

    University of Toronto Surgical Oncology Alumni 

    Awards and Prizes awarded to University of Toronto Surgical
    Oncology Fellows 


Successful applicants will have completed or anticipate completion of residency training in a recognized General Surgery training program. Fellows receive full salary support. In addition, all our fellows are provided with support to attend the annual SSO meeting in their first year as well as the annual Canadian Society of Surgical Oncology meeting. 


Number of positions: 4-5 per year 

How to apply: 
Application goes through the National Residency Matching Program. 
Deadline for application will be determined by the National Residency Matching Program

Program Director: Dr. Frances C. Wright 

Program Coordinator: Keri Medeiros

Assistant Program Director: Dr. Fayez A. Quereshy 

Research Director: Dr. Anand Govindarajan 

Co-chief Administrative Fellows: Dr. Andrea Covelli and Dr. Nick Latchana
Contact and address: 
Division of Surgical Oncology 
OPG Wing, 6th Floor, 6W275
610 University Avenue 
Toronto, Ontario 
Canada M5G 2M9 

Phone: (416) 946-6583
Fax: (416) 946-4429


To All Applicants:

If you have also applied to the U.S match through the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP), please be advised that the University of Toronto is a participating institution and adheres to the match policy. The policy states that "Applicants who have matched to a program or have accepted a position during the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP), shall not apply for, discuss, interview for, or accept a concurrent year position in another program prior to the NRMP granting the requested waiver." More information is accessible at