When the Rectal Cancer Clinic opened in early 2007, we were the first service in Boston to bring together a multidisciplinary
team of specialists - surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, gastroenterologists, pathologists, nurses, oncology social workers, dietitians, and others - to collaborate in the evaluation and treatment of patients with cancer of the rectum or anus, including those with advanced rectal cancer.
Our multidisciplinary approach ensures that your evaluation and treatment reflects the collective expertise of a team of leading cancer specialists who are focused solely on you and your unique situation. It also ensures that your treatment, which often involves radiation therapy and chemotherapy in addition to surgery, is well-coordinated to offer the best possible outcomes.
Although we are very experienced and provide care for hundreds of patients with rectal cancers each year, we are not so large that you feel depersonalized. We are able to get to know you personally - and you to know us - which enhances the quality of your care.
Two weeks to your first appointment
Within two weeks of your first call to us, we bring our team of specialists together to meet with you and your family during a
This gives you the opportunity to fully understand the reasons for your recommended treatment plan and to ask questions. Our rapid response and "one stop-shopping" is not only convenient; it's also important for your peace of mind during a stressful time.
Expertise in innovative treatment
All of the physicians on our team are on the faculty of Harvard Medical School. Our colon and rectal surgeons are well-known within the national medical community for their specialized expertise in treating rectal and colon cancers using, whenever possible, the latest minimally invasive approaches.
Every member of our team, including our nurses and nurse practitioners, is experienced in the specialized care of patients with rectal cancer.
Lowest rates of permanent colostomies
Because of our extensive skill and vast experience with
minimally invasive and robotic surgery, combined with our innovative sphincter-sparing techniques, we have one of the lowest rates of permanent colostomies, by far, in the region - even for patients who have been told by doctors elsewhere that a permanent colostomy is required.
Moreover, we are committed to removing temporary ileostomies or colostomies as quickly as possible - often months sooner than other providers. This means a greater quality of life for patients during chemotherapy and a lower risk of complications.
A dedicated nurse practitioner
We have a full-time, dedicated
nurse practitioner who is your primary point of contact with us. She is a compassionate, experienced, sensitive professional who makes sure that every detail of your care - from before your first visit and throughout your hospitalization and long-term follow-up care - is well-coordinated and as convenient as possible.
Our nurse practitioner is an ongoing resource to you and your family, and facilitates communication with your physicians and other members of your healthcare team.
Support and education programs
We offer access to comprehensive support and education programs, which help you and your family members understand and cope with your diagnosis and treatment.
Access to clinical trials
BIDMC is a founding member of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC), a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. This gives our patients access to DF/HCC's broad range of clinical trials. The Rectal Cancer Clinic also participates in the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, and the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group.