As the founder of Colon and Rectal Surgical Consultants of North Texas, Dr. Sarah Boostrom is committed to providing high-quality, minimally invasive colorectal care to her surgical patients. She earned her medical degree from The University of Texas Health Science Center, and she completed both her general surgery residency and her fellowship in colon and rectal surgery at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, MN before moving home to Dallas, TX.
Dr. Boostrom is experienced in minimally invasive surgical techniques, including laparoscopy and robotics, and she specializes in the treatment of colon and rectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis and anorectal disease.
Here Dr. Boostrom answers some frequently asked questions about colorectal health:
What can healthy or undiagnosed individuals do to prevent colorectal cancer?
The best method of prevention against colorectal cancer is a colonoscopy. Colonoscopy can detect polyps and remove polyps, thus preventing cancer. The exam is recommended at age 50 for both men and women with a negative family history. A family history may change the initial age of first colonoscopy, so patients should discuss this with their physician.
Why is it a new trend for individuals who have been diagnosed with advanced colorectal cancer to avert surgery?
Patients with locally advanced rectal cancer or metastatic colorectal cancer may be treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy and/or radiation before surgery, depending on the stage of the disease and the site of spread. However, this decision typically involves a surgeon as well as an oncologist. The goal of therapy before an operation is to treat and possibly control metastatic disease; however, it is the standard of care that if the patient has a good response and can tolerate an operation, the primary cancer (and metastatic disease, if applicable) should be resected.
What recommendations do you have for your patients regarding their recovery process? Is there a proactive approach the patient can take to a speedy recovery?
I follow an enhanced recovery protocol postoperatively and perform minimally invasive surgery (both laparoscopy and robotics). This allows for an average hospital stay of approximately two days. Risk factors to improve postoperative outcomes may be optimized before operating, including stopping smoking, controlling blood glucose in diabetics, controlling hypertension and stopping all immunosuppressive medications (like chemotherapy or steroids), if possible.
What is currently the biggest obstacle for surgeons in your field? What advice would you give women who are looking to pursue a similar career?
The biggest obstacle in a surgeon’s career is the intense training. With limited work hours for residents and fellows, a large amount of information and technical abilities must be perfected within five to seven years.
What has been your greatest accomplishment so far in your medical career?
Completing a surgical specialty fellowship and becoming an expert in the research and operative approach to my field has been the most rewarding part of my career. Colorectal cancer is common and can be cured if caught early. Improving a patient’s outcome and survival is challenging yet always rewarding.