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ThuAug 22

National Surgical Oncologist Day – August 22, 2024

National Surgical Oncologist Day is observed on August 22 every year, a day to celebrate and honor the doctors dedicating their lives and expertise to making the world a healthier place. They play a significant part in helping many people stay around longer than nature may have intended. Surgical Oncologists are doctors who specialize in removing tumors and performing biopsies to diagnose cancer in patients. A surgical oncologist’s role in theater varies. Some specialize in more specific forms of cancer, however, they are all trained to actively engage with patients and manage cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.

History of National Surgical Oncologist Day

National Surgical Oncologist Day was founded in 2019 by Jenni Cherlin and the Lean On Me Breast Cancer Foundation, to honor the achievements of surgical oncologists everywhere. Since the advent of tools, mankind has experimented with the practice of surgery. Before the discovery of anesthesia and antisepsis treatments, people who underwent any form of surgery were thought to either be brave or foolish, regardless of their condition, as recovery rates were extremely low while mortality rates were exceptionally high.

Over the last 150 years, surgery has become more refined as medical science, with the last century giving rise to incredible leaps in technology and research. Surgical oncologists are one of many vital components in the hope that cancer will become a treatable condition in the near future. While groundbreaking technological and medical research has yielded astounding results in the quest to rid patients of a positive cancer diagnosis, there is still much work to be done. Although without the help of the many stakeholders, surgical oncologists would not have the current rate of success they experience, they are dedicated to their vocation, sacrificing an incredible part of their lives to give others a chance at the rest of theirs. They are driven by the need for a cure and more treatment options for patients suffering from cancer.

August 22 is dedicated to honoring the commitment of these surgeons to saving lives and families from the tragedy of terminal illness. The day is even more significant because it is Dr. Dwight Carlton De Risi’s birthday, a world-renowned surgical oncologist with over 30 years of experience in his field.

National Surgical Oncologist Day timeline


Boston dentist William T.G. Morton uses sulfuric ether to anesthetize a man before surgery to remove a vascular tumor from his neck.

The First Antiseptic

The antiseptic is developed by British surgeon Joseph Lister.

X-Ray Vision

German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen discovers the potential uses of X-Rays to help diagnose and treat patients.

Transfusions are Possible

Blood transfusion becomes a medical and scientific option with mixed results at first.

The Modern Surgeon

Dr. Dwight Carlton De Risi, a pioneer in the surgical treatment of cancer patients, is born.

National Surgical Oncologist Day FAQs

How long does it take to become a surgical oncologist?

Depending on where you live, and the medical board that governs your country, it should take at least 11 years to become a surgical oncologist. Some countries require around 16 years of practical and academic training.

If I have cancer, will I see a surgical oncologist?

Regardless of the type of cancer you’re diagnosed with, the likelihood of seeing a surgical oncologist depends entirely on the doctor charged with your care and the results of your cancer screens. If a biopsy is necessary, you will most definitely see one.

What is a biopsy?

A biopsy is a minor surgical procedure, during which a surgical oncologist takes a small sample of what appears to be a cancerous growth to determine if it is in fact cancer and what the best method to treat it is. A biopsy may be performed by an oncologist, radiologist, or cardiologist.

How to Observe National Surgical Oncologist Day

  1. Donate

    Not to the doctors, but for research to improve the health and safety of people around the world. Medical and scientific research is expensive, so every donation counts.

  2. Say thank you

    The next time you see a doctor, nurse, or any medical practitioner who gives of themselves for the benefit of others, say thank you. Gratitude and appreciation always go a long way.

  3. Go for a screening

    Get yourself checked out. It's common for people to avoid these types of visits and simply live with a strange lump or bit of pain, but early detection is essential, so go get that screening done.

5 Interesting Facts About Cancer

  1. The earliest evidence of cancer

    The earliest mention of cancer was found in the Edwin Smith Papyrus dating back to 1600 B.C., which describes tumors being removed using a tool called the fire drill, stating, "there is no treatment."

  2. Cigarettes or tanning beds?

    There are more skin cancer cases due to indoor tanning than there are lung cancer cases due to smoking in the U.S.

  3. Medical science is 50% there

    According to research, up to half of all cancer cases and deaths are preventable.

  4. Immune to cancer

    Naked mole rats are immune to cancer because they have high amounts of a substance called hyaluronan, a body lubricant that also stops cancer cells from growing.

  5. Breast cancer has a preference

    The left breast is 5% to 10% more likely to develop cancer than the right breast, and it is 10% more prone to melanoma (a skin cancer).

Why National Surgical Oncologist Day is Important

  1. It honors everyday heroes

    Surgeons don’t do what they do for the glory. It's about saving lives daily. They deserve the recognition that comes with going to work every day to make a difference.

  2. It celebrates human tenacity

    We’ve come a long way in a very short space of time. Surgical oncologists are a testament to how far human achievement can be pushed when we work together, united behind a common cause.

  3. It gives us hope

    When you think about cancer, you’re forgiven if you go to a dark place quickly. National Surgical Oncologist Day is about all the victories that have been made and continue to be made, in the fight against the terrible disease.

National Surgical Oncologist Day dates

2024August 22Thursday
2025August 22Friday
2026August 22Saturday
2027August 22Sunday
2028August 22Tuesday

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