About Leo Villegas, MD and Gulf Coast Surgical Oncology
Dr. Leo Villegas is a board certified surgeon who trained at Harvard Medical School and completed a two-year hepatobiliary and surgical oncology fellowship at Duke University. He specializes in the advanced surgical treatment of liver, pancreatic and gastrointestinal tumors. Gulf Coast Surgical Oncology, based in Pensacola, provides multidisciplinary care for patients who previously would have had to travel outside the area for care.
Dr. Villegas conducted research at Duke in laparoscopy and the use of robotics to minimize invasive surgery. He uses his specialized training in laparoscopic surgery to perform the least invasive procedure possible. Laparoscopic surgical treatment is an alternative to radiation and has been found to enhance quality of life and minimize recovery time. To schedule an appointment or make a referral, call Dr. Villegas at (850) 432-5488.
Pace man praises physician for treatment
Fellowship-trained surgical oncologist in Pensacola now providing specialized gastrointestinal treatment to patients in the region
Pensacola, Florida - July 17, 2014 -- When Dan Garrity of Pace, Fla. was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year, he considered traveling out of state to undergo surgery. But the idea of being hundreds of miles away from home, isolated from his support network of family and friends, made him decide to receive his specialized treatment in Pensacola.
Fortunately for Garrity, patients now have a local resource available: Dr. Leo Villegas, the only surgeon in Pensacola with a two-year fellowship in surgical oncology and hepatobiliary surgery, is providing advanced gastrointestinal cancer treatment to patients along the Gulf Coast.
"We provide patients with seamless continuity of care by collaborating with their team of doctors, such as primary care physician, gastroenterologist, medical oncologist and referring physician from the same city," said Villegas, who received his surgical oncology fellowship at Duke University Medical Center and is board certified in general surgery.
Garrity, 53, echoed this statement.
"I had three doctors working in different offices, but it felt like they were all working out of one office," he said. "Everyone knew details about my case and shared information. There were no surprises."
In April 2013, Villegas performed a complex surgery on Garrity, called a Whipple procedure, to remove part of his pancreas, small intestine, a portion of the common bile duct, stomach and gallbladder. A month later, Garrity started a regimen of chemotherapy and radiation to reduce cancer recurrence, while being closely followed by his multidisciplinary team.
"I felt miserable from the chemo, but being able to come home every day and be surrounded by my family and sleep in my own bed, to me, that was as good as any treatment that I was receiving," said Garrity, a retired cryptologist for the U.S. Navy, who now coordinates training for the U.S. Department of the Navy.
Garrity said a support system was the key to facing the emotional and physical challenges of his diagnosis. But he credits Villegas and the rest of his local medical team for providing an improved quality of life.
"Dr. Villegas has been with me every step of the way, and the fact that I was able to receive my care locally was a key part to my recovery," Garrity said.