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Mexico City surgical oncologist shadows Lankenau Medical Center’s Dr. John Marks to learn his groundbreaking rectal cancer procedure

Lankenau Medical Center March 3, 2014 News Releases

Mexico City Surgical Oncologist Shadows Lankenau Medical Center’s Dr. John MarksA breakthrough rectal procedure that spares colon function, which was developed by John Marks, MD, medical director of the Colorectal Cancer Program at Lankenau Medical Center, continues to receive attention from surgeons around the world.

To learn how to cure rectal cancer without the need for a colostomy bag and even minimal scars, Dr. Itzel Vela, surgical oncologist at the National Cancer Institute of Mexico in Mexico City, came to work with Dr. Marks for a month. Dr. Marks was an invited professor at the National Cancer Institute in Mexico this past fall. While there, Dr. Marks presented three lectures on Lankenau’s minimally invasive colorectal surgical and robotics program and performed a live laparoscopic colorectal surgery televised to several hundred physicians attending a conference there. Following his visit to her hospital, Dr. Vela, who is in charge of spearheading minimally invasive colorectal surgery at the National Cancer Institute, was so impressed by Dr. Marks’ work at Lankenau that she and her hospital director arranged for her to visit and learn from him for a month.

“After witnessing Dr. Marks’ expertise at our hospital, I asked him if I could come to Lankenau to train under him so that I could bring this innovative procedure using robotics back to my patients,” said Dr. Vela. “Since I have been at Lankenau, I have been able to observe not only the TATA procedure but also Dr. Marks’ innovative approach to patient care. I treat a lot of patients with colorectal cancer—this breakthrough procedure would enhance the lives of so many in my country, allowing them to live without a colostomy bag.”

Dr. Marks is honored that the TATA procedure is having such a global reach. “To change the lives of so many colorectal cancer patients by avoiding a colostomy is very gratifying. Dr. Vela’s visit is an example of how we can foster growth of this technique not only throughout the U.S., but also in other countries,” explained Marks.

Dr. Vela can now take her knowledge back to the National Cancer Institute of Mexico for approval to begin performing the TATA. She hopes to perform the procedure this summer.

Dr. Marks, an international leader in the field of colorectal surgery, has performed over 2,000 minimally invasive colorectal procedures and treated over 1,000 rectal cancer patients, who come from across the country and around the world to be cured of their cancer and avoid a colostomy bag. He performs several other surgical techniques, including Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery and Single Incision Laparoscopic procedures for patients with a diagnosis rectal or colon cancer. For more information about these procedures at Lankenau Medical Center, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (1.866.225.5654).

About Main Line Health

Founded in 1985, Main Line Health is a not-for-profit health system serving portions of Philadelphia and its western suburbs. Main Line Health’s commitment—to deliver advanced medicine to treat and cure disease while also playing an important role in prevention and disease management as well as training physicians and other health care providers—reflects our intent to keep our community and ourselves well ahead. A team of more than 10,000 employees and 2,000 physicians care for patients throughout the Main Line Health system.

At Main Line Health’s core are four of the region’s most respected acute care hospitals—Lankenau Medical Center, Bryn Mawr Hospital, Paoli Hospital and Riddle Hospital—as well as one of the nation’s recognized facilities for rehabilitative medicine, Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital.

The Main Line Health system also includes Mirmont Treatment Center for drug and alcohol recovery; Main Line Health HomeCare & Hospice, which includes skilled home health care, hospice and home infusion services; Main Line Health Centers, primary and specialty care, lab and radiology, and other outpatient services located in Broomall, Collegeville, Concordville, Exton and Newtown Square; Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, a biomedical research organization; and Main Line HealthCare, one of the region’s largest multispecialty physician networks.

Main Line Health is the recipient of numerous awards for quality care and service, including System Magnet® designation, the nation’s highest distinction for nursing excellence, the Mid-Atlantic Alliance for Performance Excellence (MAAPE) Excellence Award, and recognition as among the nation’s best employers by Forbes magazine. Main Line Health is committed to creating an environment of diversity, respect and inclusion and has proudly embraced the American Hospital Association’s #123forEquity Pledge to Act to eliminate disparities in care. We are dedicated to advancing patient-centered care, education and research to help our community stay healthy.

About Lankenau Medical Center

Lankenau Medical Center, a member of Main Line Health, is recognized as a national leader in advancing new options to diagnose and treat illness, protect against disease and save lives. Located on a 93-acre campus just outside of Philadelphia, Lankenau Medical Center is a 389-bed, not-for-profit teaching hospital that includes one of the nation’s leading cardiovascular centers; the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, one of the few freestanding hospital-associated research centers in the nation; and the Annenberg Conference Center for Medical Education, that trains over 100 new physicians each year through nationally ranked residency and fellowship programs. Lankenau has received both regional and national recognition for its excellence in providing state-of-the-art, quality care. Lankenau Medical Center has been named among the top 10 hospitals in Pennsylvania and top five in the Philadelphia metro area in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals 2016–17, and was ranked as high-performing in four specialties: gastroenterology & GI surgery, geriatrics, orthopedics and pulmonology. Lankenau was also ranked as high performing in all nine of the Common Core specialty areas that the publication analyzes, including: abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, aortic valve surgery, COPD, colon cancer surgery, congestive heart failure, heart bypass surgery, hip replacement, knee replacement and lung cancer surgery. Lankenau has achieved The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for stroke care and breast cancer care and is one of the nation’s Top Performing Hospitals for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia and surgical care. Lankenau has also been ranked for multiple years as one of the top 50 cardiovascular hospitals in the nation by Truven Health Analytics. Lankenau has also earned the highest distinction for excellence in nursing care, the American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet® designation.


Bridget Therriault
Director, Communications
Office: 484.580.1025
Cell: 484.222.9154