Seek an EXPERT

My neighbor was recently diagnosed with esophageal cancer. We live in Pittsburgh pa. He had a rocky start with surgeons who didn't seem to care and didnt have proper experience.  He then saw thoracic surgeon DR OMAR AWAIS and let me tell you this doctor is amazing!!!! He spent quality time during each visit explaining everything and going over all his options. He had opinions from oncology before making any decision to operate on him! His cancer was in a very difficult locations and he was able to surgically remove it all with small incisions!!! The post operative care was amazing! He honestly cares about his patients and makes sure they do wonderful.  This doctor works miracles and anyone in the pittsburgh area should make an appt to see him if you are diagnosed with esophageal cancer! Highly recommended! He is the BEST esophageal surgeon in Pittsburgh 


  • LorettaMarshall
    LorettaMarshall Member Posts: 662 Member
    Dr. Awais & Dr. James D. Luketich R both from UPMC~a great place

    Dear Jtims ~

    We couldn’t agree with you more about doctors without proper experience.  “SEEK AN EXPERT” is always our advice.  Just because a person “likes their doctor” isn’t a good enough reason to trust your life into his hands, unless he is thoroughly trained in the latest techniques applicable to your particular cancer.  We always say to EC patients, please have a 2nd opinion at a hospital that is known for their expertise in Esophageal Cancer. 

    Allow me to elaborate a bit more about Dr. Awais.  He is one of the thoracic surgeons at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).  No wonder you were so impressed.  Smile

    So many know how my husband and I sing the praises of that hospital.  Dr. James D. Luketich, pioneered the Ivor Lewis Minimally Invasive Esophagectomy there at UPMC in the mid-1990s.  The MIE is the preferred surgical procedure there for Esophageal Cancer.  Many surgeons come to UPMC (a teaching hospital) to “update” their skills. 

    There are many surgeons who have not updated their skills.  Surprised Once a lady wrote to say that her husband was going to have an Esophagectomy.  She asked what should she expect?  I asked what type of surgery the husband was scheduled to have.  I told her about the MIE.  She had never heard of it.  She asked her husband’s surgeon about the MIE of which I had spoken.  This was the surgeon’s reply:  “It must be something new.  I’ve never heard of it, and I wouldn’t touch it with a 10-ft. pole.”  So her husband was subjected to a more “invasive” procedure because she didn’t seek a second opinion from a medical facility who had surgeons trained in the latest laparoscopic techniques.  TRUE STORY. 

    Small incisions” is how the totally-laparoscopic MIE is performed.  My husband was one of Dr. Luketich’s patients way back in 2003.  We received the same kind of thorough testing and competent care that you’ve outlined for your friend.  We couldn’t be happier to hear that yet another EC patient has gone to UPMC and received the best treatment that one can expect.  Keep spreading the word.  Your friend chose wisely and we thank you for yet another endorsement of how important it is to seek the services of an EXPERT!

     UPMC is a fantastic medical center and is noted for their expertise in the field of Gastrointestinal surgery among many others for which they are known to excel.  One can judge the level of expertise a surgeon has by the number of publications that have been written relative to the disease they are noted for.  Reference 3 has a multitude of publications in which I see Dr. Awais and Dr. Luketich are cited.  When I am researching a physician, their "track record" is important.  

    Note reference #1 is our beloved Dr. James D. Luketich on video, speaking at an academic conference on Thoracic Surgery.  He is answering questions from surgeons at the 2017 Beijing International Academic Conference.  Note that he is talking about the qualifications of thoracic surgeons and that they should have a “track record.”  Look at how many publications have been accepted by peer reviewed journals.    I also find that to be a good indicator of how much the surgeon really knows.

    It was good to hear from you and we hope your friend has a long “recurrence-free” wonderful life.  Believe me—surviving Esophageal Cancer really is a miracle.  And all who manage to have successful surgeries appreciate and value life more than ever before.   “Little things mean a Lot” like the old song goes.  We do take time to enjoy the beauty of a rose, seeing another sunrise and another beautiful sunset, listening to birds sing, and even watching the autumn leaves fall to the ground, even though eventually we will have to “rake them”.  Most of all we enjoy being able to give and feel in return the love of others we cherish including God and family and friends.

    Loretta (Wife of William who was diagnosed at age 65 with Adenocarcinoma @ the Gastroesophageal junction.  Dr. James D. Luketich performed the MIE on May 17, 2003, and to this day my husband is still cancer free.  We love UPMC.)


    1. – This is a 7 minute video featuring Dr. Luketich at a question and answer session.     

    "#CITSAC 2017#James D. Luketich - Published on Aug 18, 2017 - Meet the Professor in the 2017 Beijing International Academic Conference on Thoracic Surgery and the 5th National Cancer Center Annual Conference - Science & Technology"





    - Published on Jul 18, 2013 - “A sample clip of minimally invasive esophagectomy, taken from the Video Atlas of Advanced Minimally Invasive Surgery (CT Frantzides & MA Carlson, editors; Elsevier, 2013), an operative atlas consisting of (1) a textbook with color illustrations and (2) narrated DVD video summarizing each procedure. The procedure in this sample clip was performed by James D. Luketich, Lawrence Crist, and Benny Weksler. The full video is copyrighted 2013 by Elsevier.



    Awais Roux en Y jejunum for esophageal reconstruction -  This is a video that shows Dr. Awais speaking about a different type of gastric surgery, but this is to let you see who Dr. Awais is. 

    ________________End of references________________


  • griffinmike
    griffinmike Member Posts: 5
    edited November 2017 #3
    Definitely Seek an expert

    AVOID  Mission Healthcare in Asheville NC.  DO NOT go there for cancer care. If the cancer doesn’t kill you the Mission  healthcare system will. If you want competent healthcare go to MD Anderson (multiple locations), I went to CCWNC in Asheville  to be treated for esophageal cancer (EC) stage 1.    I was given radiation and a high dosage of 5FU and cisplatin chemo drugs. The 5FU is a lethal toxic drug. A test has been developed to determine if your system can tolerate the 5FU. I was not given this test because the oncologist said he doesn’t believe in it. As a result of the oncologists personal opinion I ended up being hospitalized for 3 weeks and then 2 weeks of inpatient therapy. While hospitalized  I was over hydrated and my entire body was swollen and I was having trouble breathing due to my lungs filling up with fluid. My wife had to get vocal to get the doctor to treat me for being over hydrated since the  doctor and nurses obviously were not trained to monitor what they are doing. Fluid was taken from my lungs and tested and I was told I had 6 months to live, I was told a couple of weeks later that what I was told was not true. I had another doctor review the records and was told I was nearly dead while I was hospitalized. I was left disabled by the medical staffs incompetence. After getting out of rehab I contacted MD Anderson in Houston and was treated there. During three week long trips I was given a minor surgical procedure and was told I was disease free. MD Anderson is rated as the number 1 cancer hospital in the nation.

  • Deathorglory
    Deathorglory Member Posts: 364 Member
    You're Right!!


    You couldn't be more correct.  The most important thing any EC patient can do is to get themselves to a top of the line cancer center.  I repeat myself endlessly about that here.  UPMC is an excellent hospital with great doctors.  I live on the other side of Pa. from you, so I have had Fox Chase, Thomas Jefferson and Penn available as options.  I even went to Johns Hopkins for a second opinion at one point.  I can't stress enough to folks to go to a good hospital, not the most convenient one.  I'm glad your friend has gotten good results.

    Best Wishes,