Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men and women in the U.S. Faced with these daunting facts, John Marks, MD, chief of colorectal surgery at Main Line Health and director of the Mirable Colorectal Cancer Center at Lankenau Medical Center wants Americans to have candid conversations about treatment so they are better prepared should they or loved ones develop this common and deadly cancer.
“Many people are talking about colorectal cancer prevention which is great. But too few people are talking about treatment options,” says Dr. Marks. “Let’s take the stigma away from learning about treatment so that more people aren’t afraid to talk about these problems and can have access to the new technology and microsurgeries that can save lives and preserve bowel function.”
Under his leadership at Lankenau Medical Center, a part of Main Line Health, 90–95 percent of colorectal surgeries are performed laparoscopically. The sphincter preservation rate for this approach, which eliminates the need for a colostomy bag, is 93 percent at Lankenau vs. 40–60 percent for the national average. This statistic is encouraging for patients facing a colorectal cancer diagnosis. Traditionally for many patients with colorectal cancer, treatment means the loss of the sphincter and the prospect of a life with a colostomy bag. This makes people afraid to even get checked.
Dr. Marks has set the global standard of care for colorectal treatment. Outcome data shows the recurrence rate of cancer at Lankenau is 2.3 percent vs. a 10–25 percent national average and the hospital’s survival rate is 88 percent compared to 68 percent nationally. His presentation on his approach was recently named the best session at an American College of Surgeons meeting.
About Dr. John H Marks
Dr. Marks is a graduate of Yale University and Thomas Jefferson Medical School where he also interned, completed his surgical residency, and completed his colorectal fellowship. He did an advanced minimally invasive fellowship at the University of Nice, France.