I have dedicated my career to the surgical care of people with colon and rectal cancer, and am an expert in minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic techniques for performing these surgeries.
In addition to having treated thousands of patients over the years, I have a keen interest in research, particularly in examining ways to improve outcomes for peoples with colon and rectal cancers. I have led National Cancer Institute–sponsored studies aimed at improving the quality of life of patients with rectal cancer by performing smaller operations and identifying individuals who might avoid surgery altogether through sufficient elimination of tumors with radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
I am also interested in identifying biomarkers that could predict rectal cancer response to radiation therapy and chemotherapy, and in examining racial disparities in outcomes for people with colorectal cancer.
I joined Memorial Sloan Kettering as Chief of the Colorectal Service in 2012, after serving in leadership positions at various institutions, including as chair of the Department of Surgery at the City of Hope in California and chief of the Section of Colon and Rectal Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco, Medical Center.
Over the course of my career, I have contributed to the wider medical knowledge of these cancers, having published more than 200 peer-reviewed publications, abstracts, editorials, and reviews. I have penned chapters for a spectrum of textbooks on surgical therapy for the myriad manifestations of colorectal disease, and also wrote a book for a patient audience titled Fast Facts – Colorectal Cancer (Health Press, 2010).
I have served as associate editor for such publications as Annals of Surgical Oncology, as co-editor of Diseases of the Colon and Rectum, and as an ad-hoc reviewer on a spectrum of journals including the Lancet Oncology and the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
I have lectured extensively on the advances in colorectal surgery both nationally and around the world, from grand rounds at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine to the Harvard Medical School Postgraduate Course in General Surgery. My participation in continuing medical education courses extends back to the mid-1990s, when I served as a lecturer on the principles of colon and rectal surgery at the University of Minnesota.
Outside of my clinical responsibilities, I am proud to have received various honorary memberships from professional societies over the years, and am a long-time member of the Research Foundation of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. I have served as president of the organization since 2010.
I left my native country of Spain in 1985, after earning my medical degree and completing my surgery residency at the Complutense University in Madrid. I completed my training in general surgery at Harvard University’s Beth Israel Hospital and did a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School. I also did a clinical fellowship in colorectal surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical Center.
- Clinical Expertise: Colon and Rectal Cancers; Minimally Invasive Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgery for Colon and Rectal Cancers
- Languages Spoken: English; Spanish
- Education: MD, PhD, Universidad Complutense (Madrid, Spain)
- Residencies: Universidad Complutense (Madrid, Spain); Beth Israel Hospital/Harvard Medical School
- Fellowships: University of Minnesota
- Board Certifications: General Surgery; Colon and Rectal Surgery
Fast Facts: Colorectal Cancer. 3rd ed. Taylor I, Garcia-Aguilar J, Ward R, eds. Oxford, UK: Health Press; 2010.
“Local treatment of rectal cancer.” Rothenberger DA, Garcia-Aguilar J. In: Current Therapy of Colorectal Disease. Fazio V, Church J, eds. Philadelphia: Mosby; 2001.
“Tecnicas de anastomosis en cirugia colorectal.” Garcia-Aguilar J, Hernandez de Anda E. In: Colon, Recto y Ano: Enfermedades Medico Quirurgicas. Takahashi T, ed. Mexico: ETM Editores; 2002: 631-639.
“Management of cancer in a polyp.” Rothenberger DA, Garcia-Aguilar J. Colorectal Cancer: Multimodality Management. Saltz L, ed. New York: Humana Press; 2002.
“Poliposis y cancer colorectal.” Garcia-Aguilar J, Guerrero V. In: Cirugía AEC: manual de la Asociación Española de Cirjuanos/directores. Parrilla Paricio P, Jaurrieta Mas E, Moreno Azcoita M, eds. Madrid: Medica Panamericana; 2004.
“Managing anismus.” Garcia-Aguilar J, Rhoads K. In: Complex Anorectal Disorders: Investigations and Management. Zbar AP, Pescator M, Wexner SD, eds. London: Springer-Verlag; 2006.
“Rectal cancer: local treatment.” Rothenberger D, Garcia-Aguilar J. In: Current Therapy for Colon and Rectal Cancer. Philadelphia: Mosby; 2006.
“Surgical treatment of rectal cancer.” Bleday R, Garcia-Aguila J. The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons Textbook of Colon and Rectal Surgery. Wolf BG, Fleshman JW, Beck DE, Pemberton JH, Wexner SD, eds. New York: Springer; 2006: 413-436.
“Radical resections versus local excision for early rectal cancer.” Garcia-Aguilar J. ACS Surgery: Principles and Practice. 6th ed. New York: WebMD; 2008.
“Clinical trials.” Rhoads K, Garcia-Aguilar J. In: Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery: Principles and Practice. Cataldo P, Buess G, eds. New York: Springer; 2008.
“Partial sacrectomy.” Ho J, Garcia-Aguilar J. In: Essential Techniques in Operative Neurosurgery. Jandial R, McCormick P, Black P, eds. Philadelphia: Saunders; 2010.
“Partial sacrectomy.” Chen M, Garcia-Aguilar J. In: Maingot’s Abdominal Operations. 12th ed. Jandial R, McCormick PC, Black PM, eds. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2013.
Research is integral to our mission at Memorial Sloan Kettering, and clinical trials help us discover better forms of patient care and treatment. For you, this could mean access to a new therapy or therapy combination. Click to see a list of the trials I’m currently leading.