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Unit of study_

SURG5041: Surgical Oncology: Principles and Practice

Semester 2 Early, 2020 [Online] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

The course runs over 13 weeks with the final week confined to assessment by face-to-face participation in an OSCE style format using a number of multidisciplinary team (MDT) meeting scenarios. The emphasis is on multimodality patient care which offers the best chance for a favourable outcome for a variety of common tumour types including breast, colorectal, prostate, gastro-oesophageal junction and melanoma. The unit is designed to address each cancer type with an overview highlighting those issues of importance when discussing management at an MDT meeting including: anatomical pathology desciption of the tumour, clinicopathological staging, pathology ,staging, advances in Molecular Biology, Imaging, Surgery, Radiation and Medical oncology, new biologic therapies and the place of palliation of advanced disease. The emphasis is largely on self- directed learning with on-line lectures and reading material provided by a Faculty of clinicians drawn from various metropolitan teaching hospitals. Specific Learning objectives: 1) to develop the skills to advocate evidence-based management for the individual needs of a patient in an MDT meeting and to understand the contribution of each clinical discipline in the decision making process 2) to demonstrate an adequate back ground knowledge of the natural history and classification of common tumours 3) to formulate a cancer specific management plan based on standardised reporting of the extent of tumour burden 4) to understand the influence of evidence-based, independent prognostic factors on outcomes and evolving concepts in cancer biology.

Unit details and rules

Unit code SURG5041
Academic unit Surgery
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge

Candidates are expected generally to be undertaking advanced surgical training or similar

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Brett Hambly,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Critical Review
Critical Review
20% Formal exam period 1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Tutorial quiz Graded Quizzes
Combination of question types
50% Multiple weeks 8 x Online Graded Quizzes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment MDT Online Assessment
MDT Online Assessment
30% Week 13 No word limit/60 mins allowed
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7

Assessment summary

Graded Quizzes: there are multiple graded quizzes due through the course of the semester. These quizzes are based on each topic area covered in this unit. 
MDT Online Assessment: Students are given 60 mins to outline the important points of discussion for the management of a patient. 
Critical Review: Students required to write a critical review of a tumour-specific and current publication of their choice from the primary literature.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Please note, for this unit of study (SURG5041) the late submission penalty will be 5% of the maximum awardable mark for each calendar day after the due date for 5 calendar days only. This is to ensure that timely feedback is provided to students. If the assessment is submitted more than 5 calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Background to Cancer Diagnosis and Management Online class (10 hr)  
Week 02 Background to Cancer Diagnosis and Management Online class (10 hr)  
Week 03 Breast Cancer Online class (10 hr)  
Week 04 Breast Cancer Online class (10 hr)  
Week 05 Melanoma Online class (10 hr)  
Week 06 Melanoma Online class (10 hr)  
Week 07 Prostate Cancer Online class (10 hr)  
Week 08 Prostate Cancer Online class (10 hr)  
Week 09 Gastro-oesophageal Cancer Online class (10 hr)  
Week 10 Colorectal Cancer Online class (10 hr)  
Week 11 Colorectal Cancer Online class (10 hr)  
Week 12 Metastasis and Paraneoplastic Syndromes Online class (10 hr)  
Week 13 MDT Scenario Online class (10 hr)  

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Understand "natural history" of disease
  • LO2. Evaluate the need for standardised reporting
  • LO3. Analyse the influence of independent prognostic factors
  • LO4. Understand the role and relationship of interactive clinical disciplines
  • LO5. Recognise the precise needs of individual patients
  • LO6. Construct cancer-specific management plans
  • LO7. Understand the role of patience advocate

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

We value your feedback about any aspect of the unit of study and your experience as a student of Sydney Medical School. To help ensure our courses meet your needs and maintain a high standard, we welcome your feedback at any time and we ask you to complete the Mid-Semester Evaluation Survey and the unit of study Evaluation Survey at the end of the semester. You can also rate any component of the unit using our star rating system found at the bottom of many pages as you progress through the unit. Your ratings and comments are anonymous and specifying what you liked and didn’t like about any of the learning materials, assessment items, discussion forums, feedback etc will help us to target our improvement efforts. Please note that your participation in this unit of study permits de-identified information about your learning experience and interaction with learning resources to be used for the purpose of improving the student learning experience.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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