Breast Cancer
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The Multi-disciplinary Breast Cancer Fellowship

Purpose of the program

Excellence in breast cancer management requires a multidisciplinary approach and a sound understanding of the role of research in patient care. This fellowship program is designed to train experts in the management of breast cancer with specific focus on both clinical management, research  skills and critical evaluation of data, in an interdisciplinary academic setting at the Toronto Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Center (OCC), the comprehensive cancer program at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

Program description

  • The program is aimed for fellows who have completed residency training in general surgery, medical/radiation/oncology, diagnostic imaging, or pathology and who are interested in improving their skills in the interdisciplinary management of breast cancer
  • The structure of the program is individualized and is designed to build on the fellow’s background and interests.
  • This is a one to three year program with about 8-10 fellows each year
  • Key objective is learning interdisciplinary management of breast cancer, developing research skills and approaches and gaining critical ability in the application of research to clinical care
  • Fellows are strongly encouraged to enroll in Master's Programs in Clinical Epidemiology, Education, or Basic Science.  Enrollment in PhD programs can also be accommodated.

Program’s interface with values of overall organization

OCC is a comprehensive cancer centre with leaders in breast cancer treatment from various fields including preventive, medical, surgical, and radiation oncology, diagnostic imaging and pathology. The Centre excels in providing patients with a comprehensive approach to the management of breast cancer in an academic institution. Faculty at OCC hold positions at the Sunnybrook Research Institute, the Centre for Research in Women’s Health, the Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences and the University of Toronto. The breast fellowship program is designed to build on the academic environment of the Centre and foster a comprehensive academic approach to breast cancer management and research.

Program participants

  •  Professional staff/educators:
    • Medical oncologists nurses including advanced practice nurses and nurse educators
    • Radiation oncologists radiologists
    • Surgical oncologists pathologists
    • Pharmacists psychologists
    • Medical physicists prevention and screening
    • Genetic counsellors basic scientists
    • Epidemiologists health outcomes researchers


Trainees will have completed their residency program from an accredited university in medical, surgical, or radiation oncology, pathology or diagnostic imaging.

Others impacted by the program

  • Patients – We endeavor to enhance patient care by involving fellows in patient management
  • Breast cancer multidisciplinary team – By involving different disciplines, we expect to improve the team function through increased interaction and opportunities to work together.

Objectives of the program

The main objective of the program is to educate fellows with regard to breast cancer and related illnesses through an interactive multidisciplinary format in an academic environment. We will also integrate and educate on basic research principles through involvement of fellows in research rounds, critical appraisal of research results performing their own research, and through encouraging enrollment in Master’s programs.

In keeping with the principles of adult education, we will aim to individualize the objectives of the fellow for the fellowship based on:

  • Previous training
  • Area of specialization
  • Research, teaching vs. clinical training focus
  • Individual needs and requests

Fellows will be mentored by one or more faculty members in their chosen clinical and research disciplines. 

Program design

Fellows in degree programs will follow the requirements of the specific programs. They will be expected to participate in the rounds and formal learning activities of the centre and of fellowship. Clinical experience in their chosen discipline will be assigned by their faculty mentor(s) in accordance with the requirements of the degree program.

Fellows with a predominantly clinical focus will be involved in clinical, teaching, academic and research activities of their primary discipline as assigned by the faculty in that discipline.  All clinical fellows will also participate in some clinical activity in disciplines outside of their primary discipline in order to obtain a multidisciplinary perspective.  Completion of a research project in any discipline is required.  The research mentor may be selected from any discipline.