Since returning to Memorial Sloan Kettering, my particular interest and expertise has become managing patients with pancreatic cancer and pancreatic cysts. Pancreatic cysts are abnormal sac-like pockets of fluid that grow in the pancreas. These tumors may be benign or precancerous and typically require very careful monitoring over time.
When an operation is required, I try to incorporate minimally invasive (laparoscopic and robotic) techniques as well as other therapies to help minimize my patients’ recovery time and discomfort following surgery. I see hundreds of patients a year with these complicated issues.
One of the reasons that I have been committed to Memorial Sloan Kettering for so much of my career is that I can see what a difference our expertise — as well as our universal focus on compassionate care — can make in the lives of our patients. Our surgery team is composed of national leaders in all areas of cancer diagnosis and treatment, and our group currently performs 800 to 1,000 pancreatic, liver, and stomach operations a year.
If you or a loved one has cancer of the pancreas, liver, or stomach, you may already know that multiple approaches – surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy – to treatment are often needed. I see our patients benefit in so many ways from our tightly coordinated team approach to care that begins at initial diagnosis and carries on throughout treatment.
I currently lead the pancreatic research efforts within our Department of Surgery. One of the primary goals of this program is to develop more-accurate nonsurgical methods for diagnosing pancreatic cysts. These methods should help guide doctors in deciding which patients should have an operation and which can effectively be monitored through imaging.
In addition, I currently lead or participate in clinical trials that are evaluating novel methods of diagnosing and treating pancreatic cancer, as well as methods for decreasing the risks of surgery. Patients participating in these trials are able to receive these cutting-edge therapies before they are accessible nationally.
I am board certified in surgery and lecture nationally and internationally on the topic of pancreatic malignancies. These educational efforts are directed toward other practicing surgeons as well as our own trainees. I enjoy teaching and mentoring the next generation of surgeons and was thrilled to receive the 2007 Teacher of the Year Award, selected by fellows from Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Department of Surgery.