John W. Kunstman, MD, MHS, is a board-certified surgeon specializing in the care of patients with cancers or benign diseases of the pancreas, liver, bile ducts, stomach, and intestines.
Dr. Kunstman has expertise in cystic diseases of the pancreas. He maintains an active research program at Yale examining the development of such cystic lesions as well as the genetics of associated pancreatic cancers. He also conducts clinical research seeking to improve the outcomes of those patients undergoing pancreatic surgery.
He says his favorite part of his job is incorporating innovative research from Yale into his practice and directly seeing the results benefit patients.
“The rapid development and refinement of new cancer treatments and surgical techniques allows us to offer potentially curative surgery to an increasing number of patients over time,” Dr. Kunstman says. “More than anything, I am excited about the prospects for the future as we continue to offer better and more effective therapies to our patients.”
Surgical oncology, he says, is unique in combining the technical demands of complex surgery with deep integration in a multidisciplinary team of experts in medical oncology and other fields.
“During training, I had a fantastic series of mentors that demonstrated the enormous impact the surgeon has on patients with cancer. It is that impact and those interactions with every patient and family that drove me to a career in surgical oncology,” Dr. Kunstman says. “My relationship with patients is built on durable trust and mutual understanding. Determining a course of treatment is a joint decision, made with the patient and their family after a thorough review of all the possible outcomes. No matter what happens, our team will always be there for our patients, even if the treatment does not include surgery. No question or concern is too small for us to address.”
He has received numerous awards throughout his career recognizing his contributions to research and teaching, as well as excellence in clinical care, including the Samuel Harvey Award for Outstanding Performance as a Chief Resident and Resident of the Year Award for Research in the Basic Sciences. Dr. Kunstman is a member of numerous professional societies including the Society of Surgical Oncology and the American College of Surgeons.
Years In Practice
Smilow Cancer Hospital, Yale Medicine