On Monday, a joint symposium sponsored by SSAT and the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS) will highlight efforts to improve rectal cancer treatment in the U.S.

Yi-Qian Nancy You, MD, MHSc, FACS, associate professor in the department of surgical oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, will co-moderate the symposium, Rectal Cancer Quality: Multiple Initiatives, One Common Goal. Dr. You said U.S. surgeons have witnessed successful initiatives to improve rectal cancer treatment in Europe and Canada over the last 10 to 20 years.

Yi-Qian Nancy You, MD, MHSc, FACS

“There’s a general feeling that the United States is beginning to lag behind in terms of quality efforts for rectal cancer treatment,” she said. “There remains a lot of variation in the quality of surgery being offered to patients, and there’s not enough standardization in terms of multidisciplinary treatment planning.”

For several years, the SSAT/ASCRS Joint Symposium at DDW® has served to promote collaborations between the two surgical societies. Dr. You said it made sense to use the opportunity this year to discuss ways to improve rectal cancer treatment.

The 90-minute symposium will feature four lectures. First, Larissa Temple, MD, associate professor of surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, will present “Ensuring Quality in Technique and the Checklist Initiative.”
Next, Nancy Baxter, MD, PhD, FACS, professor of surgery at the University of Toronto and chief of general surgery at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Canada, will discuss how clinical trials can be used to establish surgical benchmarks.

“As minimally invasive surgery becomes more popular, it’s important to ensure providers can perform these procedures with excellent technique,”’ Dr. You said. “We need to address the issue of how we maintain high-quality surgical skills when new technologies become available.”

Arden M. Morris, MD, MPH, professor of surgery at the Stanford University Medical Center, CA, will then review how rectal cancer abuts reimbursement. And Steven Wexner, MD, FACS, director of the digestive disease center and chair of the department of colorectal surgery at Cleveland Clinic Florida, Weston, will review nationwide efforts to improve the quality of rectal cancer treatment and what the associated quality measures will mean for individual institutions.

“Overall, the intent is not only to reach the surgeon audience, who will be interested in the technical aspects, but to also reach the broader DDW audience, who will find the health-care policy and quality metrics information enlightening,” Dr. You said.

Please refer to the DDW Mobile App or the Program section in Monday’s DDW Daily News for the time and location of this and other DDW events.