inherited risks, safeguarding the health of your family.
In addition to open surgical procedures to remove tumors, Dr. Wagner
and Valley Health’s oncologic surgeons also perform minimally invasive
Laparoscopic surgery using small incisions, long, thin tubes and a
specialized camera. The surgeon performs the procedure using specialized
instruments inserted through the tubes.
Robotic surgery using WMC’s da Vinci® Xi™ Surgical System. The
surgeon works from a console in the operating room, making all surgical
decisions and controlling surgical tools while watching a magnified, three-
dimensional view of the procedure. “Robotic surgery is our go-to choice for
rectal cancer, because we can visualize what’s happening deep in the pelvis
in sharp detail,” Dr. Wagner says. “It’s a game changer for rectal surgery,
allowing very precise surgery with less blood loss, a shorter recovery time
and less pain.”
Endoscopic surgery using miniaturized tools and a light to operate
from within the rectum. “For early rectal cancers, we can reach inside
and remove tumors without cutting into the rectum itself,” Dr. Wagner
explains. “This is revolutionary. It cuts down on recovery time and on the
need for an ostomy”—rerouting part of the intestines so waste leaves the
body through the abdominal wall instead of through the anus.
OTHER ADVANCES IN COLORECTAL CANCER CARE
Rectal Cancer Program: In 2019, Dr. Wagner started a new rectal cancer
program at Valley Health based on leading-edge recommendations from
the American College of Surgeons’ National Accreditation Program for
Rectal Cancer. “Rectal cancer is complex,” he explains. “Instead of reviewing
cases through our regular tumor board of cancer specialists, we created
a multidisciplinary rectal cancer board. Members include surgeons,
oncologists, pathologists, patient navigators, care coordinators, and others.
Twenty to 30 people discuss each case in detail, helping determine the best
approach for each patient. If I had a family member who needed rectal
cancer treatment, this is what I’d want for them.”
Genetic screening: Since 2016, all newly diagnosed colorectal tumors at
WMC are screened for Lynch syndrome, the most common hereditary
colorectal cancer syndrome. This can help identify individuals who would
benefit from increased screening, but who hadn’t already known they were
at high risk.
→ Learn more at valleyhealthlink.com/colorectal-care.
habits; blood (bright red or very dark) in your stool;
diarrhea, constipation, or feeling that your bowels don’t
completely empty when you use the bathroom; frequent
gas pains, bloating, fullness, or cramps; or vomiting.
To diagnose colorectal cancer, doctors use physical
exams (including a digital rectal exam) as well as tests for
blood in your stool, X-rays of your large intestine, and a
sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy—a close examination of
the inside of your rectum and colon using a lighted scope.
COLORECTAL TREATMENT ADVANCES
Surgery is the foundation of colorectal cancer treatment.
You may also receive radiation, often to reduce the size
of a tumor before surgery, as well as chemotherapy after
surgery, depending on your cancer’s stage. At Valley
Health’s Cancer Center at WMC, your therapy also
includes mind-body care before, during and after your
cancer therapy, as well as genetic testing that can identify
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