Training the Bowel Cancer Surgeons of the Future

Bowel cancer is the most common internal cancer affecting men and women in Australia with more than 14,000 cases per year in Australia alone. International research has demonstrated that the outcome of treatment is improved if the surgeons treating patients are specialists, concentrating on treating bowel cancer alone and do so in high volume, so we need specialised training programs to ensure that we have appropriate treatment for future generations of Australians.  

Colorectal surgery is a highly specialised and complex area of surgery, which requires further training and experience, in addition to the general surgery training.  Our community needs more specialist colorectal surgeons to manage the increasing number of people with colorectal diseases, including bowel cancer.

What does the program entail?

The Cabrini Fellowship Program allows surgeons who have qualified as general surgeons to obtain experience in colorectal surgery, working with and under the supervision of our experienced colorectal surgeons.  The Fellows also contribute to the bowel cancer research work of the Cabrini Institute.

Cabrini is a major centre for bowel surgery, and the Fellows spend 12 months in our facility.

This Fellowship is open to surgeons from around the world, and in previous years Cabrini Fellows have come from Australia, Ireland, Italy and the United Kingdom.

Cabrini treats more bowel cancer than any other hospital in Victoria and includes the practices of eight specialised colorectal surgeons.  The training program that we have put in place at Cabrini allows one fully qualified surgeon, who has completed their general surgical training, to spend a year with the team at Cabrini, learning specialised and advanced techniques in the treatment of bowel cancer. This includes some of our advanced treatments, including minimally invasive surgery, key hole surgery and even robotic surgery.  This program has functioned successfully since 2007, having trained surgeons both from Australia, the United Kingdom and Ireland.  

Training surgeons is, however, expensive and as we are a private hospital, we need benevolent support.  Our training program at Cabrini includes the opportunity for surgeons to expand their academic career and hence, travel to Australian and international conferences, presenting our research work. In addition, the Cabrini Research Fellowship includes a one week observership at the world renowned Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, USA (a clinic which trained two of our own colorectal surgeons).

The Cabrini Fellowship Program is supported by Let's Beat Bowel Cancer fundraising initiatives.