How to Select a Surgeon

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How to Select a Surgeon

Postby Coyote » Mon Aug 24, 2015 10:43 pm

I have recently completed chemo/radiation for a rectal adenocarcinoma. I am scheduled for an endoscopy in the middle of September where I find out how successful the treatments were. While I'm praying for a "complete response" I want to make contact with a surgeon in advance in case that is the next step. My tumor was low, so I am looking for a sphincter sparing specialist. I live in the Pacific Northwest but am willing to travel.
It seems like a good idea to find someone on the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery but if they have a lot of experience (and success) that might not be a requirement.
Any suggestions on how to find the right surgeon?
5/13 RCa Stage I, Age 51
Naturopathic care
10/14 CEA 4.9
1/15 CEA 4.6
6/15 CEA 3.8
7/15 IMRT + Xeloda (6 weeks)

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Re: How to Select a Surgeon

Postby Teddi » Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:28 pm

I think that you are on the right track. Ask around, and find someone who specializes in sphincter sparing surgery. I would definitely go with a board certified colorectal surgeon. My surgeon works at UC Irvine, and he is has been doing robotic colorectal surgeries since 2004. My tumor was about as low as could be resected, and he pulled it off. Dr. Alessio Pigazzi is his name if you search you can look him up. I'm sure there are many qualified surgeons, good luck!

47 at diagnosis
Colonoscopy, biopsy, CT, PET 6/14
Rectal cancer (tentatively) Stage III-b, MSS
Xeloda and radiation 25x finished 8/14
FOLFOX 5 cycles
Surgery 1/23/14 ~ T1N0MX ~ temp illeostomy
FOLFOX 3 cycles = total of 8
Illeostomy reversal 4/8/15
Clean scans x2, clear colonoscopy 9/15

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Re: How to Select a Surgeon

Postby Lee » Tue Aug 25, 2015 8:55 am

I agree, go with a board certified colon rectal surgeon. Maybe visit with a few a different surgeons and see if one stands out for you.

Best of luck,

rectal cancer - April 2004
46 yrs old at diagnoses
stage III C - 6/13 lymph positive
radiation - 6 weeks
surgery - August 2004/hernia repair 2014
permanent colostomy
chemo - FOLFOX
NED - 10 years and counting!

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Re: How to Select a Surgeon

Postby Jacques » Thu Aug 27, 2015 12:20 pm

Coyote wrote:...Any suggestions on how to find the right surgeon?

To use the Internet to find and evaluate Board-Certified colorectal surgeons in your area there are two main steps to go through.

  • Step 1. Get list of Board Certified colorectal surgeons in your area. To do this, you have to access the website, put in your search criteria, and register (Registration is free.)

    The website is here:

    In the box “State/Province”, select the state or province where you want to find a board-certified doctor.
    In the box “Specialty”, select the option “Colon & Rectal Surgery”
    Leave all of the other boxes blank; don’t type anything at all in the other boxes.
    Press the SEARCH button.

    After you have pressed the SEARCH button, you will be asked to register as a New User. You need to put in your e-mail address, create a valid password, read the Privacy Policy and check the corresponding box and then type in the security letters that you see in the box at the bottom of the screen. (NOTE: Be sure to write down the password that you just created because you will need it the next time you try to do a search.)

    After you have done all of this, then your search will be performed and your results will appear. Scroll to the bottom of the web page and you will find a list of all doctors in your state/province who are board-certified in the “Colon & Rectal Surgery” specialty. You can then look through the list and find ones that are in cities that are convenient for you. Copy down the names of the surgeons that are of interest to you and then go to Step 2 below.
  • Step 2. Get further details on the selected doctors. To to this, go to the website with the list of doctors that you just wrote down.

    The website is here:

    After accessing this website, go to the data entry box near the top of the screen and enter your search criteria. For example, if you are in Seattle WA and looking for a rectal cancer surgeon, you could enter the following then click on the magnifying glass icon at the right hand side of the box.


    On the output screen you can then modify your search by adding requirements like “Board Certified”, by checking the appropriate boxes.


    Once you have entered your required criteria and re-run the search, then you will have a short-list of doctors in your area that meet your requirements. You can then scroll through each doctor in turn to find ones that are the best match for what you are looking for.

    There are many tabs to be explored on the website which can give useful information about each doctor. Just spend some time going through all the information on each doctor to try to get a feel for what the doctor has to offer and whether or not you would like to work with him/her.

    P.S. The same procedure above can be used to search for other kinds of board-certified doctors. Some of the relevant available specialties are:

    • Medical oncology
    • Radiation oncology
    • Gastroenterology
    • Family Medicine
Last edited by Jacques on Sat Mar 25, 2017 3:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How to Select a Surgeon

Postby MrPleistocene » Fri Aug 28, 2015 12:26 am

I always liked to get at least two doctors to say the same thing if I was doing something irreversible. No good surgeon will be offended if you get a second opinion. It gave me a nice slice of piece of mind.
DX 11/09 RC Stage IIIb
12/09 Chemorad w/Folfox
Surgery 4/10 LAR, Removed Seminal Vesicles
Clean Margins, T3N2M0, 4/19 Nodes
FOLFOX 6/10-11/10
6/10, 10/10, 1/11 Clean Scans, Normal CEA
12/10 Bi-Nephrostomy
12/10-2/11 HBOT
2/11 Reversal

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Re: How to Select a Surgeon

Postby Coyote » Fri Aug 28, 2015 2:00 pm

Thank you, Jacques for the detailed guidance. I sure that I am not the only one who will benefit from your post.
There are many certified surgeons who look well-qualified.
I remain open to suggestions.
5/13 RCa Stage I, Age 51
Naturopathic care
10/14 CEA 4.9
1/15 CEA 4.6
6/15 CEA 3.8
7/15 IMRT + Xeloda (6 weeks)

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