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Texas Colon & Rectal Specialists–Houston West Welcomes Stephen Chiang

March 08, 2024

Stephen Chiang, M.D., colon and rectal surgeon, is now seeing patients at Texas Colon & Rectal Specialists–Houston West. Dr. Chiang discusses a myth he would like to dispel about colorectal cancer and the one item he would bring to a deserted island.

Did you always know you wanted to be a surgeon?

I have always been interested in science and knew that I wanted to be either a scientist or doctor. I also like doing things that require a lot of technical expertise, such as playing the violin and video games. Surgery was the perfect field as it allowed me to pursue my interest in science while also developing technical skills.

During my training, I had great mentors that not only helped to develop my expertise as a surgeon but also taught me how to connect with patients to provide the best possible care.

What is a myth you would like to dispel about colorectal cancer?

I think it’s important for people to know that colorectal cancer does not solely affect older adults. We have seen a rise in early onset colorectal cancer for reasons not fully understood, and early detection is key. Screening colonoscopies are an effective tool for detecting colorectal cancer early and removing precancerous polyps. It is extremely important to undergo proper screening even if you have no symptoms — especially if you have a family history of colorectal cancer. Currently, the recommended age for colonoscopy is 45, and I encourage everyone who is eligible to get screened.

What is the most rewarding aspect of being a surgeon?

I love being a surgeon because we can offer treatments that often have immediate and tangible benefits. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing how a patient’s quality of life improves after a successful operation.

What is a social cause you’re passionate about?

During my residency, I took part in a project focused on minority access to healthcare. There is a disparity in access to and utilization of colorectal cancer screenings among racial and ethnic minority groups. Patient education and empowerment can be difficult to achieve due to cultural and social factors. As healthcare providers, we need to be mindful of these barriers to deliver holistic and culturally competent care.

What is your favorite movie and why?

I have fond memories of watching “Howl’s Moving Castle” in high school. It was the movie that first introduced me to Hayao Miyazaki and his work. His films often have unique characters and animation styles, along with great soundtracks.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what is the one thing you could not live without?

For practical reasons, I would bring a knife. However, if all items needed for survival were provided, I would bring a fishing rod. It would be a great way to pass the time, and I have always wanted to learn to fish.

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