Urologic Oncology Fellowship



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Program Training Director

Thomas J. Polascik, MD, FACS

Program Faculty


Current Fellow: Kathleen F. (Kate) McGinley, MD

Overview: The Society of Urologic Oncology fellowship at Duke enables trainees to develop the skills and experience needed to become an outstanding urologic oncologist and researcher. Through the significant breadth and depth of clinical pathology, voluminous surgical caseload, and multidisciplinary approaches to oncology, we intend to develop the clinical and technical acumen of our graduates. The Duke faculty is committed to nurturing the development of future leaders in urologic oncology, both within the United States, and on the global landscape as well. 

The Duke SUO fellowship is a 2-year program with one year of protected (no call or clinical duties) research and one clinical year. The Duke Cancer Institute and facilities available in the greater Duke academic environment foster a multidisciplinary approach to both clinical cancer care and research.
Clinical rotation: Duke Urology is among the top 10-urology programs in the nation and serves as a high-volume regional and national tertiary-quaternary referral center. As one of the original NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers since 1973, Duke University has always been privileged to treat patients with some of the most complex and varied genitourinary malignancies. The recent opening of the brand-new state-of-the-art edifice housing the Duke Cancer Institute (DCI) in 2012 refortifies our commitment to multidisciplinary care. Genitourinary Oncology has found a home in this state-of-the-art, thoughtfully crafted 265,000 square foot space.  The DCI houses all oncology services including infusion/chemotherapy, surgical and radiation oncology along with cancer imaging – all under the same roof, acting as a one-stop facility for all of our cancer patients’ needs. 
To provide the SUO fellow with a first rate surgical experience, the fellow operates up to four days per week. After demonstrating proficiency and thoughtful surgical decision-making, the fellow begins to assume progressive responsibility for patient care and teaching of the residents.  We feel that this is an invaluable part of developing surgical expertise; and it is wholeheartedly embraced.
The fellowship is structured in a mentorship model with the fellow accompanying oncology faculty in the operating room and clinic. Fellows rotate with each of the oncology faculty and typically spend at least four months assigned to a specific attending or team. Surgical experience is a priority and thus the fellow is expected to attend all index cancer surgical cases involving all aspects of GU surgical oncology that the fellow might encounter in his/her career. The fellow is exposed to a wide range of surgical techniques including the most minimally invasive needle based cancer treatments, robotics and laparoscopy, and maximally invasive open extirpative surgery. As a quaternary referral center, Duke urologic oncology will treat patients with large tumors including upper abdominal lymphadenectomy requiring hepatic mobilization techniques and adjacent organ resection, level 3-4 vena caval resections/reconstructions and post-chemotherapy and post-radiation extirpation.  We perform a number of minimally invasive laparoscopic, retroperitoneoscopic, LESS, and robotic cases for prostate, kidney and bladder cancers. We have the latest robotic equipment including dual-head consoles with simulator modules and newly renovated robotic operative suites. Single port surgery and other minimally invasive approaches are incorporated into patient care. 
The Duke Medical Pavilion, scheduled to be completed in 2013, will provide additional operative suites, including two intraoperative therapeutic MRI scanners and an intraoperative CT scanner for image-guided prostate and kidney procedures. Fellows will gain experience in new and evolving cancer diagnostics and therapies such as 3-dimensional transperineal prostate cancer mapping, TRUS-MRI fusion biopsy techniques, focal therapy for prostate and kidney cancer, and MRI-guided prostate biopsy and ablative therapy. It is anticipated that the fellow will gain exposure to percutaneous CT-guided ablation of renal tumors with the addition of our operative interventional suites. 
Research and Education: The educational component of the program includes lectures and seminars on a variety of oncologic topics covering the spectrum of urologic cancers.  During the research year, the fellow will attend a formal weekly teaching program on biostatistics, research methodology, manuscript writing, grant submission, database management, clinical trials and research compliance. 
Duke Surgery has been the largest awardee of NIH funding of any surgical department in the nation. As such, myriad research opportunities are available, including basic science bench work, pre-clinical vivarium research, and health services and outcomes research. The Duke Prostate Center maintains one of the largest prostate database repositories in the country. Additionally, our renal mass database includes outcomes spanning from observation, surgical intervention, chemotherapy and biomarkers. We encourage the fellow to present his/her research at national meetings to an international audience. Fellows have many opportunities to publish manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals.
As a Junior Faculty position, the fellow will participate in didactic education of residents and medical students on urologic oncology topics. In addition, the fellow will lead the multi-disciplinary tumor board conference in collaboration with pathology, medical oncology, and radiation oncology. 
All of these facets of the Duke SUO Fellowship together serve to provide our fellows with the substance requisite to becoming future leaders in Urologic Oncology. We are proud of our mission to provide patients with state-of-the-art care for all their oncologic needs, and we are proud to train some of the most talented men and women in the world who will be equally proud to be Duke doctors. We welcome all potential applicants.
Application: This fellowship is a Society of Urologic Oncology approved program and as such is governed by its rules and regulations. Applicants to the Duke SUO program must meet the following criteria:
  • Graduation from an accredited ACGME or ICGME residency program in Urology.
  • Successful completion of the USMLE steps 1, 2 and 3
  • Able to obtain a North Carolina medical license
  • A J1 visa for qualified foreign applicants
To apply, please complete the SUO application at http://suonet.org/fellowships/SUO%20Fellowship%20Match%20Application.pdf
and send 3 letters of reference to the Program Director:


Thomas J. Polascik, MD, FACS
Professor, Division of Urologic Surgery
Duke University Medical Center
Box 2804
Durham, NC  27710
Phone: 919-684-4946
E-mail: polas001@mc.duke.edu