Expert dispels common colorectal cancer surgery myths
Why choose a multidisciplinary center?
Iqbal says when selecting a center for colorectal cancer treatment, look for a restorative colorectal surgeon and a surgeon and a hospital where a high volume of these cases have been treated – there is data to show that all of these independently impact outcomes.
“You need to be taken care of by people who do this day in and day out,” Iqbal said.
Seek out a center where the care is not fragmented. A true multidisciplinary program brings all specialists the patient needs under one umbrella, requiring no separate appointments with different doctors in different locations.
“Our team works together to explore the best medical or surgical option to ensure the most successful outcome for the patient,” Iqbal said.
His approach is to provide combined clinics with medical oncologists for cancer patients and gastroenterologists for IBD patients.
“We are able to provide a seamless patient experience with good communication between physicians. We see the patients together in the same room and provide an outline of their care to them. Patients can make informed decisions about their care with all members of their treatment team in the same room,” Iqbal said. “Additionally, cancer patients are reviewed at weekly tumor board conferences for multidisciplinary input, including discussing of new or experimental treatments. This helps us involve our expert specialists from colorectal surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, gastroenterology, pathology, radiology and other specialists as needed in formulating a succinct plan for the patient in a timely fashion.”
His team provides minimally invasive, laparoscopic, robotic and transanal procedures to treat patients with colorectal cancer and is aggressive in avoiding the use of ostomy bags. Using multiple methods, including a specialized technique, robotic transanal total mesorectal excision, for the procedures allows for better visualization so the surgeons are able to ensure that the entire tumor is removed while avoiding a permanent ostomy bag.