Alfred Cohen, MD, named surgical director

Alfred M. Cohen
Alfred M. Cohen

Alfred M. Cohen, MD, FACS, FASCRS, clinical professor of surgery in the University of Arizona Department of Surgery, has been named surgical director at the Arizona Cancer Center and will join the center’s leadership team.

In this position, Dr. Cohen will guide the team of Department of Surgery oncologists to realign and restructure the management of cancer treatments, including lung, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, colorectal, thyroid, prostate, bladder, kidney and skin.

“Surgical oncologists will be fully integrated into multidisciplinary cancer management teams, the way cancer care should be – and is – provided at the Arizona Cancer Center,” Dr. Cohen said.

Dr. Cohen will work with faculty and staff to facilitate cancer care and surgical referrals from clinical practices in the greater Tucson area, both those of University Medical Center and from private practices.

Dr. Cohen joined the Department of Surgery and the Arizona Cancer Center in February 2009. He came to the UA from the Lucille P. Markey Cancer Center at the University of Kentucky where he served as director and chief executive officer. Previously, he was chief of colorectal surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York for 15 years. He also served as co-director of surgical oncology at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Dr. Cohen's research interests include his pioneering work in enhancing the quality of life for patients with rectal cancer. He perfected surgical techniques to minimize the need for colostomy bags, nerve preservation to prevent postoperative sexual and urinary problems, and internal pouch techniques to improve bowel function.

Dr. Cohen received his medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and his general surgery residency at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He received surgical oncology and laboratory research training at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda.

“In his new role as the surgical director at the Arizona Cancer Center, Dr. Cohen will work to streamline the process for cancer patients to have immediate access to surgical treatment,” said Rainer Gruessner, MD, professor and chairman of the UA Department of Surgery. “Over the last two years, the Department of Surgery has increased the number of surgical oncologists from three to 10, including division chiefs in neurosurgery and urology who are renowned cancer specialists in their fields. Our newest programs include the HepatoPancreaticoBiliary and Endocrine Surgery Centers.”