Film critic Richard Crouse gives cancer surgery rave review

“There's always something better to do than have a colonoscopy.”

At least that's what Richard Crouse, film critic for CTV's Canada AM, thought in mid-2013. Just days after his 50th birthday, his family doctor suggested he have the procedure. Luckily for him, the doctor made the appointment.

“I had no symptoms and if my doctor hadn't told me to have one (colonoscopy) I don't know if it would have occurred to me,” says Richard. “I felt fine at the time and like everyone else, I was busy more than anything.”

When Richard woke up, the physician who performed the colonoscopy told him “we've found a tumour” and referred him to North York General Hospital's (NYGH) Dr. Peter Stotland, a Surgical Oncologist with the hospital's colorectal cancer program, and an expert in minimally invasive surgery.

When asked what his first meeting with Dr. Stotland was like, Richard replied “It was all business; there was no gilding the lily.”

“Dr. Stotland's approach was so reassuring I wasn't even worried about the surgery, especially after he explained the cancer would be removed laparoscopically.”

After a colonoscopy revealed a tumour, Richard Crouse was referred to Dr. Peter Stotland at NYGH where he had laparoscopic cancer surgery.

After a colonoscopy revealed a tumour, Richard Crouse was referred to Dr. Peter Stotland at NYGH where he had laparoscopic cancer surgery.

Laparoscopic surgery, also called minimally invasive surgery, is a modern surgical technique in which operations are performed through small incisions (usually 0.5–1.5 cm).

“Where it's appropriate, laparoscopic surgery has significant advantages over traditional surgery techniques,” says Dr. Stotland. “From a patient's perspective laparoscopic surgery is much less invasive, which helps to put people's minds at ease. Recovery from laparoscopic surgery is faster, wounds are much smaller so heal faster, and the pain and discomfort post-surgery is much less. Learn more  about our hospital's greatest areas of need, including technology and equipment.

At North York General, the standard of care for colorectal cancer surgery is laparoscopic, and all of the hospital's surgeons who perform colorectal surgery are experts in this field. In fact, many of the GTA's gastro-intestinal surgeons are trained here under the guidance of surgeons like Dr. Stotland and former Chief of Surgery Dr. Stan Feinberg, an award-winning teacher. Approximately 15 surgical residents are trained at North York General every year.

“The care I received from Dr. Stotland and the rest of the team at North York General was excellent. I knew I was in good hands and surgery was the first step in getting back to normal,” says Richard. “A day after my surgery I was walking, well more like shuffling, and watching the latest Mission Impossible movie. Three days later I was home.”

Dedicated health care professionals at both hospitals work in a collaborative environment to provide patients with high-quality cancer care and the best possible experience and outcome. This includes support from a dedicated patient navigator that helps to coordinate care, prepares patients for surgical consults or referrals as necessary, and provides reliable education material and support.

When it comes to avoiding cancer, prevention and early detection are essential. That's why knowing your risk is so important. Developed by Cancer Care Ontario, my CancerIQ will help you learn about things that might be raising or lowering your risk for certain cancers. At the end of each assessment you'll receive personalized tips on what you can start doing right now to help lower your risk and live a longer, healthier life.

Learn more about NYGH's Colorectal Cancer Program.

Learn more about Surgical Oncologist Dr. Peter Stotland.

This article first appeared in the April 2016 issue of The Pulse.

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