University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Department of Surgery

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Division of Surgical Oncology

Dr. Michelle Sowden consults with a patient

The Division of Surgical Oncology (DSO) is known for its commitment to the multidisciplinary care of patients with cancer. Our division has been instrumental in the development of the The University of Vermont Medical Center Breast Care Center, which has become an institutional model for the management of patients with all forms of cancer. The DSO has been an international leader in developing new surgical techniques for the treatment of breast cancer and melanoma. Our division has the only three fellowship trained surgical oncologists in the state and with the recent addition of Dr. Michelle Sowden, the only fellowship trained breast surgeon in the state.


Over the last several years the DSO has been a major contributor to the education mission of the Department of Surgery. Dr. James, in his role as Director of the Surgery Core Clinical Clerkship, has made significant improvements in our medical student education process. This has led to the Department of Surgery winning the Silver Shovel Award as the outstanding clinical teaching service by the graduating medical school class. This leadership in teaching also extends to the senior majors in surgery and resident teaching as well.


The division members have been leaders in developing the techniques of sentinel node biopsy and have conducted the single largest prospective randomized surgical trial of any type reported in the literature in cooperation with the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project. This research has led to additional studies evaluating the prognosis of bone marrow micrometastases in breast cancer patients. The lab of Dr. David Krag (recently recognized as senior researcher of the year by the College of Medicine) is also investigating methods for producing tumor specific binders (peptides and antibodies) that will someday improve our treatment and detection of a variety of cancers. Dr. Ted James has a prospective multicenter database of breast cancer patients to evaluate the variations in treatment and their effects on patient outcomes.

Patient Care

Experienced and highly trained surgical oncologist, nurses and support staff help work with patients, their family and friends through evaluations, operations and post-surgical follow-ups to assure high quality care. Our team therefore offers multidisciplinary outpatient and inpatient care for patients with:

  • Breast Care
  • Breast Cancer
  • Endocrine Surgery
  • Skin Cancer/Melanoma
  • Soft Tissue Tumors

Jump arrowVisit Cancer Care at The University of Vermont Medical Center, our clinical teacher partner.

Last modified May 23 2016 12:13 PM