Hampton Roads Physician magazine featured TPMG Colorectal Surgeon, Dr. Lisa Coleman:
One basic hurdle impacts Dr. Lisa Coleman’s work almost daily: too many patients don’t get to her quickly enough, whether they have advanced colon cancer or have struggled for years with benign anorectal conditions such as fecal incontinence.
So Coleman’s mission is to alleviate fears, dispel myths and educate local residents and health care providers about colorectal care while offering the screening tools and advanced medical procedures that can save and change lives.
“There’s so much unnecessary shame and silence surrounding these health issues,” Coleman says. “I find great satisfaction in helping patients to feel comfortable and giving them renewed hope.”
Coleman chose to practice in Hampton Roads because the region is a known trouble spot for colon cancer death rates. According to a 2015 report published by the American Association for Cancer Research, southeastern Virginia ranked among the top three regions of concern – along with parts of the Mississippi Delta and Appalachia – with a rate 9 percent higher than the national average.
Coleman arrived at TPMG after 18 years of service as an Army Lieutenant Colonel who did wartime and humanitarian tours in Afghanistan and Honduras. Most recently, she spent six years as Chief of Colorectal Surgery and Endoscopy at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in Texas, followed by her last duty station at Ft. Belvoir in Northern Virginia.
Since colon cancer is often symptomless until its later stages, Coleman stresses that screening is critical for everyone, regardless of family history. She aims to partner with primary care physicians to recommend routine colonoscopies after age 50. “Early-stage colorectal cancers have a 90 percent cure rate,” she notes. “The screening also is far more tolerable than people think.” For patients who do have cancer or other damaged tissues, new minimally-invasive techniques and robotically-assisted surgeries can better preserve normal function and prevent permanent colostomy bags.