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What does “fellowship-trained Breast Surgeon” mean and why should I choose one for my care?

Surgical Breast Oncologist in Nashville, TN

Have you heard the term “fellowship-trained” and always wondered what that mean?

A fellowship is extended training beyond residency that a physician chooses to complete in order to sub-specialize within their field.

There are many different types of fellowships in medicine that a physician can pursue depending on where their passions lie.

For example, if a doctor wants to practice in Gastroenterology, they must complete a residency in internal medicine for three years and then do a fellowship in gastroenterology for another three years. This does not include undergraduate education (4 years) or medical school (4 years). So the person doing your colonoscopy has trained for a total of 14 years to have the privilege of being able to look inside your colon!

What is taught in a Surgery Fellowship?

In the same fashion, there are several types of surgery fellowships. A fellowship-trained Breast Surgeon has completed at least five years of General Surgery residency and has elected to pursue an additional year of training in treating diseases of the breast.

During this year, the fellow gains exposure to pathology, radiation oncology, medical oncology, breast surgery, plastic surgery, genetics, mammography and lymphedema specialists to fully understand all aspects of diagnosing and treating breast cancer and other benign breast findings.

A fellowship-trained Breast Surgeon is aware of the complexity of breast cancer and realizes that every breast cancer must be treated in a way that is individualized for the patient.

If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, you should seek a fellowship-trained breast surgeon who fully understands the disease process and can guide you through your treatment.