Director, Gastrointestinal Surgical Oncology
Director, Colorectal Surgery
Maimonides Cancer Center provides advanced care for patients with colorectal cancer. At Maimonides, you will receive care from an entire dedicated team committed to creating an individualized treatment plan for you. Our highly skilled team includes surgeons, medical oncologists, gastroenterologists, interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, nurse practitioners and dedicated and compassionate support staff.
The group works together, to provide you with the best possible outcome.
Colorectal cancer refers to the type of cancer that starts in the large intestine (colon) or the rectum (the end of the colon). There is no known cause of colorectal cancer. Nearly all colon cancers begin as noncancerous (benign) polyps, which slowly develop into cancer over time. People at risk for the disease include men and women over 50 years of age. Other risk factors include: diets high in fat but low in fiber, a history of polyps in the colon or rectum, certain hereditary conditions such as Lynch syndrome and familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), a family history of colon or rectal cancer, or a history of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Obesity, diabetes, smoking and heavy alcohol intake also may increase your risk.
Colorectal cancer often does not have detectable symptoms. However, if you experience abdominal pain or tenderness in the lower abdomen, blood in stool or changes in your bowel habits lasting more than a few days, unexplained constant tiredness or weight-loss, you should see your primary care physician immediately.
According to the American Cancer Society, even though colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in the United States, early diagnosis often leads to a complete cure. Colorectal cancer screenings provided by a gastroenterologist are the best way to detect and prevent colon cancer. For this reason, Maimonides offers a Colon Cancer Screening Program available to all Brooklyn residents, regardless of their ability to pay.
Our screening and diagnostic services offer state-of-the art imaging tools that allow physicians to pinpoint the location of cancer. Our equipment is utilized by recognized experts in their fields. Tests used to screen for cancer or polyps may include barium enemas, digital rectal exams, fecal occult blood tests, and colonoscopies. Other tests may be performed to confirm the appearance of cancer, the stage of the cancer, and if the cancer has spread. Doctors may recommend a biopsy, which is the removal of colon or rectal tissue to be tested for cancer, polypectomy (removal of the polyp), CT Scan, positron emission tomography (PET), or an MRI.
At Maimonides, every patient receives individualized diagnosis and treatment depending on their condition. The form of treatment is often dictated by the stage of the cancer and its location.
There are four stages of colon cancer:
Stage I: Cancer in the inner layers of the colon
Stage II: Cancer that has spread through the muscle wall of the colon
Stage III: Cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes
Stage IV: Cancer has spread to other organs
At Maimonides, our surgeons offer minimally invasive techniques whenever possible, and often use laparoscopic and robotic surgery. Robotic surgery, using the da Vinci surgical system, has been found to offer revolutionary precision and increased magnification in the treatment of cancers in the lower colon and rectal area, which in turn results in improved patient outcomes. Our goal during surgery is always to remove the cancer while sparing nerves and the anal sphincter. This allows patients to continue to have normal sexual, bladder and sphincter function, and frequently avoids the need for a permanent colostomy. Surgery can be supplemented with radiation therapy or chemotherapy, or a combination of treatments if needed.
Many patients with stage III colon cancer can expect to receive chemotherapy after surgery. Chemotherapy is also used to treat patients with stage IV colon cancer to help improve symptoms as well as to prolong survival.
The team at Maimonides believes in treating the whole patient, not just the disease. This includes taking care of your well-being. Our physicians and staff will be available to you throughout your treatment to answer any questions you may have. The entire environment at the cancer center is designed with your comfort in mind, in a patient-friendly atmosphere for you and your family.