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Dr. J. Spencer Liles, assistant professor of surgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a surgical oncologist with the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute, recently earned a board certification in complex general surgical oncology.
USA Health is one of few institutions in the nation that have two or more board-certified surgical oncologists. “There are only 100 board-certified surgical oncologists in the country and two are here at USA,” Dr. Liles said. “This essentially means that USA is one of less than 10 places in the country with two surgeons that have demonstrated the knowledge base and skillset to be certified experts in the field of surgical oncology.”
Dr. Marcus Tan, assistant professor of surgery at the USA College of Medicine and a surgical oncologist with the USA Mitchell Center Institute, earned a board certification in surgical oncology in 2015.
Dr. Liles said surgical oncologists have been trained for decades, but there was hesitancy to allow formal board certification until two years ago. Prior to this, surgical oncologists were “specialty-trained” but not “board-certified.”
“Surgical oncology board certification is a fairly new entity,” Dr. Liles said. “The American Board of Surgery (ABS) is responsible for certification of all general surgeons and subspecialty surgeons as a means of ensuring that they are sufficiently trained to provide appropriate care.”
The process of earning a board certification in complex general surgical oncology includes the completion of medical school, a surgical residency training with achievement of board certification in general surgery and the completion of an accredited fellowship in surgical oncology. The final steps of the board certification process include successfully passing the written surgical oncology qualifying exam and the oral surgical oncologist certifying exam.
Dr. Liles joined USA in 2015. His clinical interests include general surgical oncology, breast, endocrine, pathology and gastrointestinal malignancies.
Dr. Liles earned his medical degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham. From 2005 to 2013, he completed his general surgical residency training at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, during which time he completed a three-year National Institutes of Health T23 basic science research fellowship. In July 2015, he completed his complex general surgical oncology fellowship training at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.
Dr. Liles is also board certified with the American Board of Surgery and is a member of the American Medical Association, American College of Surgeons, National Medical Association and Society of Surgical Oncology.
Surgical oncology is a branch of surgery that mainly deals with the removal of tumors, usually cancerous. Established to assess qualifications for the treatment of complex cases—typically seen in cancer centers and specialized institutions – the American Board of Surgery approved this certification in an effort to help improve the care of cancer patients with complex cases requiring intensive, multidisciplinary treatment.
To make an appointment with Dr. Liles or to make a referral, call (251) 445-8405.
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