As board certified surgeons specializing in surgical oncology, Dr. Marybeth Hughes & Dr. Eric Feliberti practice optimal standards for the care of surgical patients with cancer. They work closely with referring physicians to render patient-focused healthcare specifically tailored for each patient. Both surgeons participate in numerous protocol studies including local protocols and those available through groups such as the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women with 4,600 diagnosed cases annually in Virginia. We emphasize in multidisciplinary approach with a strong emphasis on breast conservation, whenever possible. When breast conservation is not possible, then immediate reconstruction can be offered, assisted by our colleagues in Plastic Surgery. Our surgeons have pioneered many advanced techniques including sentinel lymph node biopsy, skin sparing mastectomy, and catheter brachytherapy (Mammosite). Dr. Feliberti is the Breast Center Director.
Cancer of the colon and rectum is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in the United States. Colorectal cancer requires surgery in nearly all cases for a complete cure. With our surgeons use of advanced surgical techniques, a colostomy is required in less than 5% of patients with colorectal cancer. Advanced minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques allow for smaller incisions, a shorter hospital stay, and a quicker recovery.
Upper Gastrointestinal Cancer
Upper gastrointestinal cancer includes cancer of the stomach, liver, and pancreas. These cancers, although less common, remain a major focus for our surgeons. Surgery of these tumors can often be complex and difficult. Dr. Hughes and Dr. Feliberti have assembled an experienced team of healthcare professionals to treat these difficult cancers. Both primary and secondary (metastatic) tumors of the liver can be surgically resected for a cure. In addition to surgical resection, techniques such as radiofrequency ablation (RFA), hepatic artery infusion chemotherapy, and chemoembolization are used when appropriate. Cancer of the pancreas remains one of the most difficult cancers to treat. Aggressive surgical resection offers the best chance for cure. Our surgeons favor the pylorus-sparing pancreaticoduodenectomy (Whipple procedure) for patients with carcinoma of the head of the pancreas. Most patients receive chemotherapy and radiation therapy after surgery to help improve their chances for a cure.
Skin cancer is all too common in the Hampton Roads area. Indeed, our Surgical Oncology Division has become a major referral center for southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. Every attempt is made to minimize the cosmetic deformity associated with melanoma surgery while adhering to strict oncologic principles to maximize the change for a cure. Dr. Perry pioneered the use of sentinel node biopsy for melanoma in the region, and our surgeons have participated in a number of protocol studies. Current studies are examining the identification of unique biomarkers for patients with melanoma. The Surgical Oncology Division also actively participates in the Commission on Cancer Melanoma Disease Site Team.
Sarcoma is a malignant tumor that develops in the tissues that support and connect the body. It can occur in fat, muscle, nerves, tendons, joints, blood vessels, or lymphatic vessels. Sarcomas can develop in any part of the body. About 50% occur in the arms or legs, 40% in the trunk or abdomen, 10% in the head/neck area. The Surgical Oncology Division has a great deal of interest and expertise in these uncommon tumors. A multidisciplinary approach is usually required, consisting of an aggressive surgical resection combined with radiation therapy. Most patients with sarcomas of the arms or legs can be treated with a limb-sparing approach, avoiding amputation.