Mark van Berge Henegouwen is chirurg en leider van slokdarm/maagkanker bij het Amsterdam Medisch Centrum. Hij beschrijft hoe het omvangrijke team van specialisten en experts samenwerkt, en steeds probeert een stap verder te komen in inzicht en kwaliteit van behandeling. Hij moedigt de patiënt aan om indringend en intensief vragen te stellen.

Interview in English:

My name is Mark van Berge Henegouwen. I am an oesophageal and stomach cancer
surgeon at the Amsterdam UMC. I’m also professor of oesophageal surgery at the University
of Amsterdam. And the Amsterdam UMC is a large treatment centre for patients with
oesophageal and stomach cancer. We are currently the largest centre in the Netherlands
and one of the largest in Europe. Yes, in fact we treat patients with the idea of being able to
give them the best care and we do this by working together with a whole team of specialists
who are ready to provide that specialist care. When you come to us, you’ve usually already
had a diagnosis. You’ve heard in another hospital that you have oesophageal cancer,
stomach cancer. We take over the whole process. We’ll have a look what scans, photos,
scopies have been done to establish the facts in our multidisciplinary clinic. It’s called the
gastro-intestinal oncology centre, GIOCA. Patients are registered there and then we make
sure that they can come to us within a week. I think that one of the most important things is
that we have a specialist in this type of cancer for every kind of care a patient needs. Not
only the surgeon, but also the doctor who gives the chemotherapy or the radiation. Also the
supporting specialisms, think of the physiotherapist, think of the dietician, but also the doctor
who looks at the radiology images and the CT scans. These are all specialists who, for a
very large part of their time, are dealing with patients with oesophageal and stomach cancer.
How can I keep improving? I think the idea that we’re constantly busy as a team, as a whole
group, with how I – or we – can improve our care. That’s an important part of providing
excellent care. Next time you’re going into a discussion, consider in advance exactly what
you want to know, together with someone close or dear to you, with a good friend, or take someone with you to the appointment. Ask the doctor: What is your experience with this?
How often do you do this treatment? And that goes for every type of cancer treatment.