Surgical Oncology

The Division of Surgical Oncology at Michigan Medicine offers state-of-the-art treatment for the whole person, offering comprehensive diagnosis, counseling, patient support, and expert surgical care for patients with cancers of the breast, skin, soft tissues, gastrointestinal, digestive, and hepatopancreatic biliary systems.

Clinical Specialties

Our approach to cancer treatment partners multiple experts to deliver multidisciplinary care in the treatment of breast cancer, complex skin cancers, sarcoma, and cancer of the stomach, pancreas, and liver. Serving as a high-volume referral center and backed by the expertise and the resources of a world-class academic medical center, our programs offer access to new treatments, including clinical trials, and advanced surgical procedures not available at all institutions.

We coordinate each patient’s care through a team of providers in surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, radiology, pathology, cancer genetics, and social work. This approach allows us to support patients from evaluation through treatment to recovery, providing a true home for each person’s health care needs.

Our unique Cancer Survivorship Clinics provide ongoing support for cancer survivors, offering symptom management and consultation for all aspects of a patient’s physical and mental health.

Our multidisciplinary programs and clinical specialties include:

  • A Breast Care Center: Our center for the treatment of breast cancer and other breast conditions incorporates multiple support programs in addition to expert medical and surgical treatment, including patient education, peer counseling, psychological support, and integrative medicine. We also work with colleagues in endocrinology and obstetrics & gynecology to provide consultation to patients seeking to preserve their fertility, post-treatment.
  • A Cutaneous Oncology Clinic: This high-volume clinic sees more than 1,500 patients a year, making it one of the leading melanoma centers in the world. Our team includes dermatologists, medical oncologists, pathologists, and other experts.
  • A Sarcoma Clinic: We treat sarcomas of the bone and soft tissue, seeing more than 200 cases each year of this rare form of cancer.
  • A Multidisciplinary Pancreatic Cancer Clinic: We see more than 600 patients each year and offer treatments including Whipple operations and distal pancreatectomies.
  • A Multidisciplinary Liver Tumor Clinic: We evaluate and treat patients with tumors involving the liver and biliary system, leveraging a team of hepatologists, transplant surgeons, medical oncologists, and radiologists.
  • A Multidisciplinary Colorectal Cancer Clinic: We offer a range of tailored treatments for colon and rectal cancer, including radiation therapy, open surgery, and laparoscopic surgery.

Beyond the clinic, we’re gaining a better understanding of how cancer develops and progresses, and we're pursuing novel treatments. As educators, we offer advanced training in cancer treatment for the next generation of surgeon leaders.


The Division of Surgical Oncology is an integral part of the University of Michigan General Surgery residency and remains committed to the education of medical students and residents. The Polly Suk-Yee Cheung Breast Surgical Oncology Fellowship is one of the top programs in the country, emphasizing advancement to clinical independence in addition to unique opportunities in clinical and translational research.

The NIH T32 Supported Surgical Oncology Research Training Program offers postdoctoral candidates who have completed the M.D. an opportunity to spend two years focusing on cancer-related discovery. Trainees are matched with a mentor working in an area of interest in oncology, with additional didactic training in tumor biology and fundamentals in surgery research.


From laboratory science to new clinical treatments, we study and treat cancer from all angles.

By connecting what we learn in our biomedical research labs with our patients’ medical needs, we can translate the latest knowledge into new hope for various cancers and other serious conditions.

Our current research interests include:

  • Clinical trials to study the use of cryoablation (freezing cancer) as an alternative to surgery for patients with early-stage breast cancer. In addition to the multiple clinical benefits, we are studying how cryoablation may also stimulate an anti-tumor immune response in the body.
  • Understanding the relationship between the immune system and cancer stem cells, with a goal of advancing a cancer stem cell vaccine to the clinical trial stage.
  • Testing a tiny implantable device that is designed to catch cancer cells in the body’s bloodstream before they become tumors, allowing for more targeted therapy and potentially helping to prevent cancer recurrence.
  • Defining the mechanisms by which immune cells influence the formation and growth of pancreatic cancer, in order to develop new treatment approaches for patients with this aggressive cancer.
  • Studying the different mechanisms by which pancreatic cancer grows in order to develop new treatment options. We’re able to take pancreatic cancer samples from patients to grow in our lab, creating opportunities to test individualized approaches that treat that specific cancer.
  • Identifying biomarkers and novel targets for treating pancreatic cancer and metastatic colon cancer in the liver. This effort fuels the development of clinical trials focused on identifying better therapies for these diseases.
  • Using and sharing data on clinical cases and specific cancers through a multi-institutional research collaborative that allows us to answer scientific questions backed by more data so we can better understand the mechanisms for cancers of the stomach, liver, and pancreas.
  • Developing and testing new ways to use the immune system to recognize and reject pancreatic and liver cancers.