“Surgery is the standard treatment for patients with rectal cancer. If the tumor has grown too large, patients will receive radiotherapy before surgery, sometimes in combination with chemotherapy. But approximately 20% of these patients responds so well to the radiation (and chemotherapy) that the tumor has fully disappeared – which means that surgery is technically no longer necessary. For a few years now, patients have been given the option to forego surgery, as surgical procedures aren’t entirely without risk: bleeding, infection, or the need for a stoma. Patients are given plenty of information about their options, and come in for screenings often if they opt out of surgery. This is known as the ‘Watch-and-wait’ approach. I researched this organ-sparing treatment for my PhD thesis to contribute to an improved risk assessment in the consultation room. I enjoyed hw multidisciplinary this research was, from surgeon to radiologist. I am currently training as a radiologist myself. One of the greatest moments was when I got to meet the Brazilian researcher Habr-Gama during a congress in Lisbon. I still cherish the picture we took with her.”
Hester will defend her thesis on June 7.
prof. dr. G.L. Beets and prof. dr. R.G.H. Beets-Tan