In Memoriam: Dr. Edward (Ted) Copeland, renowned breast cancer surgeon

A renowned surgeon and international authority on breast cancer, former University of Florida Professor Edward (Ted) M. Copeland III, M.D., FACS, passed away March 31 at the age of 86.

Edward (Ted) M. Copeland III, M.D., FACS

Throughout his career, Copeland gained recognition for his contributions to advances in breast cancer surgery and treatment, including the evaluation of a frozen section analysis test that quickly determines whether surgeons have removed an entire tumor before a patient leaves the hospital, significantly reducing the need for additional procedures.

Copeland was most recently the Edward R. Woodward Distinguished Professor of Surgery in the UF College of Medicine. He retired in 2008 after a 25-year career. A giant in the field, he was also the first director of the UF Health Cancer Center from 1994 to 1999. He held numerous leadership roles in the profession, including serving as president of the American College of Surgeons, and garnered numerous accolades, including a UF Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication to surgical care throughout his time at UF.

“Although the passing of Dr. Copeland is a profound loss for both the field of surgery and the University of Florida (UF), I am committed to honoring his memory by making surgical organizations and the UF Department of Surgery the best they can be,” said Gilbert R. Upchurch Jr., MD, FACS, the Edward M. Copeland III and Ann & Ira Horowitz Department Chair of the UF department of surgery. “After spending countless hours talking with him while he drank his beloved ginger ale, I am saddened because I know there was still more to learn. His passing serves as an important reminder that we, as practicing surgeons, should recommit ourselves to reaching out to older surgeons who still have much to offer. I have tried hard to emulate him as we continue his legacy.”

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