Background: The global cancer burden (GCB) is expected to rise significantly during the next few decades with most of the new cancers and cancer-related deaths afflicting the low- to middle-income countries. The ability to tackle this rising GCB requires the presence of an adequately trained surgical oncology workforce, which is dependent on credible training pathways and sustainable certification pipelines. The purpose of this article is to review briefly the training patterns and certification requirements for surgical oncologists globally by sampling representative countries across all regions of the world.
Methods: A thorough literature search was conducted using multiple websites of credible national/global organizations as well as the websites of individual countries. Countries from select regions in the world were included (based on the World Health Organization regions and Human Development Index) in the analysis to determine the prevalent trends in the training of surgical oncologists globally.
Results: Several trends and significant differences were noted in the training patterns of surgical oncologists globally. The presence or absence of domestic surgical oncology fellowships had an inverse correlation to the income level of the country. Countries without domestic fellowships usually relied on high-income foreign destinations for their training.
Conclusions: The results of the analysis demonstrated significant variability in training of surgical oncologists globally. Despite the diversity, we noticed some general trends based on which some recommendations were put forth for increasing the global surgical oncology workforce.
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