Neurosurgery has historically been a uniquely wide-ranging and varied specialty. Unlike other specialties that focus on a particular organ system or body region, neurosurgery is quite literally a “head-to-toe” specialty dealing with the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves and the other organs intimately related to the nervous system. Neurosurgeons classically had to be experts in a wide variety of surgical procedures and disease processes. As medical knowledge and technology have advanced, neurosurgeons have evolved with medicine to become experts in particular disease processes, leading to a reorganization of neurosurgery into sub-specialty disciplines.
Over the years, the Neurosurgery Blog has partnered with various neurosurgery subspecialty sections to provide an update on the state of the subspecialty, highlight current issues, add to the conversation and portray their concerns to a non-specialized audience. Today’s neurosurgeon must be facile in many different areas — both medical and non-medical. As medical care and health care delivery have grown increasingly complex, neurosurgeons must wear several hats: surgeon, team-member in multi-disciplinary care teams, teacher, scientist and advocate.
We partnered with the AANS/CNS Joint Section on Tumors for the following series of blogs. Under the guidance of Tumor Section chair, Jason P. Sheehan, MD, PhD, FAANS, and AANS/CNS Washington Committee representative, Michael A. Vogelbaum, MD, PhD, FAANS, members of the section came together and produced a sweeping overview of ongoing topics:
- Arnold B. Etame, MD, FAANS, leads us off with a piece about diversity in neurosurgical oncology. Isabelle M. Germano, MD, FAANS, FACS, then tackles disparities in access to care and outcomes in brain tumor patients.
- Ricardo J. Komotar, MD, FAANS, FACS, reports on efforts in education and collaboration on an international scale. Edjah E. Nduom, MD, FAANS, speaks to brain tumor advocacy, providing an overview of the outward-looking direction of some of our efforts.
- Michael Lim, MD, FAANS, and Nader Sanai, MD, FAANS, bring us two pieces highlighting the ability of neurosurgeons to translate discoveries from the lab into patient care and back again and how neurosurgeons contribute to drug development in the increasingly complex fight against brain tumors. These pieces are complemented by an article by Manish K. Aghi, MD, PhD, FAANS, updating the role of neurosurgeons in clinical trials and research in neurosurgical oncology.
Academic publishing, the Journal of Neuro-Oncology, and the dissemination of scientific results, particularly in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, are at the center of a piece by Dr. Sheehan and Christopher P. Cifarelli, MD, PhD, MMM, FAANS, FACS. Dr. Vogelbaum presents “A Neurosurgical Perspective on Multidisciplinary Care for Patients with Brain Tumors,” emphasizing the team-based nature of neuro-oncology care today.
In the era of a worldwide pandemic and an increasingly complex care delivery environment, neurosurgeons are playing more and more roles in delivering better care to our patients. This is especially true in the field of neurooncology. We hope that these blogs inspire you to join the efforts of this important field. The amount of work that the members of the section and the authors, in particular, put into these issues outside of patient care is astonishing and deserves credit!
Editor’s Note: We hope that you will share what you learn from our posts. We invite you to join the conversation on Twitter by following @Neurosurgery and @NSTumorSection and using the hashtag #TumorSeries.
Clemens M. Schirmer, MD, PhD, FAANS, FAHA
Chair, AANS/CNS Communications and Public Relations Committee
Wilkes Barre, Pa.