2016 Top Doctors

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Dr. Carmen Ruiz

Colorectal Surgery, OU Physicians, OU-TU School of Community Medicine

Photo by Chris Humphrey Photographer.
Photo by Chris Humphrey Photographer.

[dropcap]Dr[/dropcap]. Carmen Ruiz is an assistant professor and colorectal surgeon with OU Physicians and the OU-TU School of Community Medicine in Tulsa.

After graduating from Harvard Medical School, she completed a general surgery residency at Boston Medical Center where she continued her interest in colorectal diseases.

“I found colorectal surgery patients most interesting to read about, operate on, manage postoperatively and follow after hospital discharge,” Dr. Ruiz says. “After my five-year general surgery residency, I naturally chose to specialize in colorectal surgery and completed a colorectal surgery fellowship at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.”

She believes her greatest accomplishment is helping to save lives.

“Colonoscopy provides the technology to prevent colorectal cancer or to find it before it spreads beyond reasonable hope of cure,” she says. “Colorectal cancer is typically silent before its advanced stages. Colonoscopy permits discovery and removal of tumors before they become cancerous. Colonoscopy even allows for cure of very early colorectal cancer without requiring surgery. More advanced cancers do require surgery. As a colorectal surgeon, I perform the colonoscopies and the surgeries. It is intrinsically rewarding for me to be involved in this life-saving effort.”

She also notes that significant improvements have been made in treating advanced colorectal cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Previously, there was only one chemotherapy formula available.

“There are now various chemotherapy options for advanced colorectal cancer,” says Dr. Ruiz. “Tumors can now be genetically analyzed for selecting the most effective chemotherapy.”

What she most wants people to know is that colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in the United States.

“With the availability of colonoscopy, this should not be the case,” Dr. Ruiz says. “Timely colonoscopy is of crucial importance.” – Rebecca Fast

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