Complex General Surgical Oncology Program

Complex General Surgical Oncology Program

The University of Toronto offers a 2-year academic fellowship in Complex General Surgical Oncology (GSO) for fully trained General Surgeons. There are two streams or tracks within the program:  a GSO track (3 positions) and a Hepato-pancreato-biliary oncology / GSO track (1 position). Applicants can apply for both tracks or one track at their preference.

The fellowship is accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) (status full accreditation), and is fully recognized by the American Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). There is recognition of training between all ACGME and RCPSC approved programs.    Recognition of training was also granted by the European Board of Surgical Oncology in 2012. The University of Toronto program was founded in 1996 and has trained over 75 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 vision of the program is to train the future local, national and international surgical oncology leaders.

Excellence Through Equity is one of the three strategic domains of focus in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine.  The GSO Program will reflect and represent Temerty Medicine's commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.  

Surgical Oncology Fellowship Program Video

Clinical Training
Application Process










The University of Toronto Complex General Surgical Oncology Fellows work at the fifth and sixth largest cancer centres in North America. 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 (13 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.
• The Edmond Odette Regional Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, located in uptown Toronto, 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

All fellows complete core rotations in:

Sarcoma – Mount Sinai Hospital: 3 months (lead: Dr. Rebecca Gladdy)
Peritoneal Based Malignancies – Mount Sinai Hospital: 3 months (lead: Dr. Danielle Bischof)
Breast/Melanoma – Princess Margaret Hospital (lead: Dr. David McCready) and/ or Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (lead: Dr. Frances Wright): 3 months
Lower Gastrointestinal Malignancies – Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre: 3 months (lead: Dr. Shady Ashamalla) 
Head and Neck Surgery – University Health Network: 1 month (lead: Dr Jesse Pasternak)
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. GSO 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 ACGME and RCPSC training, GSO track trainees have the opportunity to tailor their training according to their clinical interests, through a variety of elective rotations for 4-6 months in second year.

Examples of elective rotations

-  Upper Gastrointestinal/Hepatopancreatobiliary Malignancies –Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre: 3 months (lead: Dr. Paul Karanicolas)
-  Robotic & Minimally Invasive GI Oncology – Toronto Western Hospital at University Health Network (lead: Dr Fayez Quereshy)
-  Minimally Invasive GI Oncology (community setting) – North York General Hospital (lead: Dr Peter Stotland)
-  Endocrine Surgery  – Toronto General Hospital at University Health Network (lead: Dr Jesse Pasternak)
-  Orthopedic sarcoma - Mount Sinai Hospital
-  International:
        • Gastric Cancer – Japan
        • Robotic Surgery – Korea & Hong-Kong
        • Sarcoma – Milan Tumor Institute
        • Breast Oncoplasty – France

          Complex pelvic malignancy – Sydney, Australia
        • Research

HPB Surgical Oncology Track

Trainees that are interested in a career in HPB oncology can apply to the HPB Surgical Oncology Track at the time of their application through ERAS/ NRMP. One trainee is accepted for this position.  The matched trainee completes 10-12 months on the HPB service over first and second year. The trainee will attain dual accreditation for Complex General Surgical Oncology and HPB Oncology by the AHPBA (Americas Hepato-pancreato-biliary Association and The Fellowship Council).  

Applicants can apply for both tracks or one track (GSO or HPB) at their preference.


General Surgical Oncology Lecture Series

The formal education program includes a weekly lecture series. 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 the University of Toronto Faculty and Fellows, and reflects the current approach to the management of Surgical Oncology in General Surgery at the University of Toronto. 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 third edition is currently being completed in conjunction with Springer.

Journal Clubs

Monthly Journal Clubs are organized by the Chief Fellows, allowing fellows to discuss key articles with invited experts from surgery, medical and radiation oncology. 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 research methods and minimally invasive surgery skills at the simulation centre.

Leadership Day (all trainees)

In conjunction with the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, all fellows in Canadian Surgical Oncology Training Programs meet and discuss leadership skills with surgical leaders. 

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

Research Day (all trainees)

This is a yearly event where trainees present their research projects.  There is an invited speaker. 

Other available courses:  Leadership Program for all Trainees through the Post Graduate Medical Education Department (PGME), Global Health Oncology Leadership Curriculum


Before the beginning of their first year, fellows are assigned a research and clinical 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 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.


(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) 
Savtaj Brar (University of Toronto)
Danielle Bischof (John Hopkins)

University Health Network 
David McCready (MD Anderson Cancer Center) 
Tulin Cil (University of Toronto)
Fayez Quereshy (University of Toronto) 
Sami Chadi (Cleveland Clinic Florida)

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre 
Shady Ashamalla (University of Toronto) 
Natalie Coburn (University of Toronto) 
Julie Hallet (University of Toronto)
Paul Karanicolas (Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Centre) 
Calvin Law (University of Toronto) 
Nicole Look-Hong (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute) 
Amanda Roberts (University of Toronto)
Frances Wright (University of Toronto) 


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 per year (three positions in Complex General Surgical Oncology and one position in GSO/ Hepato-pancreato-biliary oncologic surgery).  All applications go through ERAS and NRMP.

Matching is through National Residency Matching Program (NRMP).

Deadlines are available on the Society of Surgical Oncology website:

Co-Directors: Dr. Anand Govindarajan 
                        Dr. Nicole Look Hong

Program Coordinator: Jaime Burke

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

For accepted trainees: University of Toronto Post Graduate Medical Education Timelines:

Detailed Registration Timeline.pdf







Applications go through the Electronic Residency Matching Service (ERAS).








  • Detailed Registration Timeline.pdf (412.91 KB)
  • Once you have been accepted into a Fellowship Program, these are the timelines to expect from the Post Graduate Medical Education Office.