Improving Rectal Cancer Care Through Collaboration

OSTRiCh aims to standardize care, maximize outcomes

Rectal cancer surgical techniques and the use of neoadjuvant therapy vary considerably across the country — which also means that outcomes vary. Cleveland Clinic colorectal surgeons are working to change that through their leadership role in the 100-plus-member consortium for Optimizing the Surgical Treatment of Rectal Cancer (OSTRiCh).

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OSTRiCh (  is focused on fostering collaboration to standardize care and optimize outcomes. “We want to encourage others to join OSTRiCh to promote better, evidence-based care of all patients across the nation,” says David Dietz, MD, Vice Chair of Colorectal Surgery.

How OSTRiCh Hopes to Make a Difference

OSTRiCh was established in 2011 through the vision of Feza H. Remzi, MD, and in collaboration with the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, the American College of Surgeons (ACS), and other surgery, radiology, pathology and oncology societies. Steven Wexner, MD, Digestive Disease Center Director and Department of Colorectal Surgery Chairman at Cleveland Clinic Florida, presented OSTRiCh’s proposal to establish a U.S. Rectal Cancer Centers of Excellence Program to the Commission on Cancer (COC) and subsequently to the ACS leadership. Both COC and ACS unanimously approved the initiative.

“With the continued support of OSTRiCh by its physically and geographically diverse members, we will soon realize the accreditation process for our Centers of Excellence Program,” Dr. Wexner says. “We will soon be able to offer our patients in North America the same advantages as have been repeatedly proven in Europe with the adoption of Centers of Excellence in rectal cancer surgery.”

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Next Steps

Now OSTRiCh — under the leadership of Drs. Dietz, Remzi and Wexner — is working with the COC and ACS to design what Dr. Dietz calls the “nuts and bolts” of the new Centers of Excellence Program.