• Surgical oncologists specialize in surgery and biopsies
  • Oncologists are often valuable members of a cancer patient's care team
  • People can show their appreciation for their doctors to mark the day

National Surgical Oncologist Day is observed on Aug. 22 every year to honor the doctors who play a vital role in the world's fight against cancer.

Surgical oncologists are the doctors who remove tumors and nearby tissues through surgery or help diagnose cancer by performing biopsies. These doctors can perform various procedures depending on the need -- from open surgeries to minimally invasive ones. Some may also choose to specialize in certain cancers such as skin or gastrointestinal cancers, or even in specific age groups, like pediatrics.

They also often work with other doctors to form a multidisciplinary team to provide patients with the necessary treatment. For instance, when a patient needs a combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery to treat the condition, the surgical oncologist becomes a valuable member of the patient's cancer care team.


National Surgical Oncologist Day was founded in 2019 by Jenni Cherlin and the Lean On Me Breast Cancer Foundation to recognize the life-saving work and accomplishments of surgical oncologists everywhere. It's celebrated on Aug. 22 because it's the birthday of Dr. Dwight Carlton De Risi, who is a world-renowned surgical oncologist whose career spanned over 30 years.

In 2000, Dr. De Risi was among the people who established the Lean On Me Breast Cancer Network, which aims to provide support to people who were diagnosed with breast cancer by pairing them with volunteer survivors.

Through the years, the organization has helped thousands of patients and has also expanded the services and support it provides, from weekly support groups to seminars and care packages, all of which are funded through donations from generous people.

"We believe the power of support can truly change the outcome for those diagnosed with this disease," the organization said.

People can observe National Surgical Oncologist Day by donating to a cancer charity or organization. Those who know a surgical oncologist may also show their appreciation to them while those whose lives have been touched by surgical oncologists may share their stories on how the doctors have saved their lives using hashtags like #SurgicalOncologistDay or #SurgicalOncologist on social media.

Representational image. Pixabay