Evan Glazer, MD, a surgical oncologist with UT Methodist Physicians and West Cancer Center, spent 18 days in South Korea learning, sharing, and observing the most common types of cancers South Korean doctors see, the stages at which cancer patients seek care, and the treatments South Korean physicians offer patients. Dr. Glazer also is an assistant professor in the Division of Surgical Oncology in the University of Tennessee Health Science Center Department of Surgery.
He was selected through a competitive application process of the Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO) to visit South Korea and observe at Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH) and the Korean National Cancer Center (NCC).
"Even after surgeons have completed formal training, we never stop learning," Dr. Glazer said. "The experience I had to learn from other physicians on an international platform at the Korean Society of Surgical Oncology (KSSO) - the Seoul International Symposium of Surgical Oncology was extraordinary. To have this opportunity on an international level offered great insight into different approaches to complex surgical problems surgical oncologists routinely encounter."
Dr. Glazer noticed that the patients he sees in the Mid-South with gastric cancers seek medical attention when their cancers are much more advanced than in South Korea. The explanation he says is due to the screening programs that are offered in South Korea. In the United States, there are robust screenings in place for colon and breast cancer, but not for gastric cancers that are not as common in the U.S., but are common in South Korea.
He said his experience in South Korea reinforced the value of multidisciplinary care.
"Seeing how their surgical oncologists, gastroenterologists, medical oncologists, radiologists, and radiation oncologists all worked together to support the surgical oncologist validated the importance of teamwork."