Coordinated GI Cancer Care from Diagnosis to Long-term Survival

Gastrointestinal (GI) cancers are among the most complex malignancies to treat; often, patients present with advanced disease and survival rates tend to be low. In 2005, a small group of hepatobiliary surgeons at Penn State Hershey Medical Center came together and formed the Liver, Pancreas, and Foregut Tumor Program to deliver state-of-the-art, multidisciplinary care for this difficult to treat patient population. The group has grown over the years to include four hepatobiliary surgeons: Kevin Staveley O’Carroll, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Liver, Foregut and Pancreas Program; Niraj J. Gusani, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.S.; Jussuf T. Kaifi, M.D., Ph.D.; and Eric T. Kimchi, M.D., F.A.C.S.

The multidisciplinary and coordinated nature of the program is unique to the central Pennsylvania region. Patients admitted into the program receive coordinated care from a team of surgeons, gastroenterologists, hepatologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, geneticists, and psychiatrists. Diagnostic questions are optimally clarified by modalities such as endoscopic ultrasound and computed tomography, with expert gastrointestinal pathologists providing immediate interpretation when biopsy procedures are necessary, resulting in high diagnostic accuracy with less repeat procedures. Such facets of the program allow surgeons to optimally address the challenges of tumor removal in these cases.

Kimchi explains, “All of the surgeons have completed specialized fellowships in addition to their general surgical residency. Our level of clinical focus on this set of cancers allows us to gain skill with cutting-edge techniques for particularly challenging cases.”

Laparoscopic tumor removal or ablative techniques in particular are gaining ground, as they offer an equivalent level of effectiveness while leading to less post-operative pain and shorter recovery times.

Most patients who successfully complete acute surgical treatment enter into a GI Cancer Survivorship Clinic. Gusani explains, “The Survivorship Clinic began in 2009 to offer coordinated follow-up care for patients who have undergone any GI or abdominal surgery; 95 percent of the approximately 100 patients we see every month are cancer survivors. This clinic is unusual in that it is led by a group of GI surgeons who recognized that long-term care of GI cancer survivors tends to fall through the cracks and needs to be centrally coordinated.”

As highlighted in a recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, there is growing awareness in the medical community of a need for survivorship care that includes nutritionists, social workers, psychologists, and nurse practitioners, in addition to routine GI cancer monitoring. The combination of the Liver, Pancreas, and Foregut Tumor Program with the GI Cancer Survivorship Clinic means that patients with some of the most challenging and complex malignancies receive coordinated care beginning upon initial diagnosis and continuing through to long-term survival follow-up.

Read two of the team’s publications:

 .

Kevin Staveley O’Carroll, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Surgery
Penn State Hershey Surgical Oncology
PHONE: 717-531-8887
FELLOWSHIP:
Surgical Oncology, Johns Hopkins Hospital
RESIDENCY:
General Surgery, Johns Hopkins Hospital
MEDICAL SCHOOL:
University of Oklahoma College of Medicine
Kevin Staveley O’Carroll, M.D., Ph.D.

Kevin Staveley O’Carroll, M.D., Ph.D.

 .

Eric T. Kimchi, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Associate Professor of Surgery
Penn State Hershey Surgical Oncology
Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute
PHONE: 717-531-8887
FELLOWSHIP:
Surgical Oncology, University of Chicago Hospitals
RESIDENCY:
General Surgery, Wayne State University Hospital
MEDICAL SCHOOL:
Penn State College of Medicine
Eric T. Kimchi, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Eric T. Kimchi, M.D., F.A.C.S.

 .

Niraj J. Gusani, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.S.
Assistant Professor of Surgery and Public Health Sciences
Penn State Hershey Surgical Oncology
PHONE: 717-531-8887
FELLOWSHIP:
Surgical Oncology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
RESIDENCY AND INTERNSHIP:
General Surgery, University of Chicago Medical Center
MEDICAL SCHOOL:
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Niraj J. Gusani, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.S.

Niraj J. Gusani, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.S.

 .

Jussuf T. Kaifi, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Surgery and Medicine
Penn State Hershey Surgical Oncology Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute
PHONE: 717-531-8887
FELLOWSHIP:
Surgical Oncology, University of Hamburg Medical School
RESIDENCY:
General Surgery, University of Hamburg Medical School
MEDICAL SCHOOL:
University of Hamburg Medical School

Jussuf T. Kaifi, M.D., Ph.D.

Jussuf T. Kaifi, M.D., Ph.D.

Leave a comment

Filed under Education, Treatments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s