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Chief, Division of Gastrointestinal Surgery

Roscoe Bennett Gray Cowper, MD, Distinguished Professor

The Hollywood Reporter

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4 NYC-Based Physicians Loved by L.A.

September 2014

Check out Dr. Guillem’s recent presentations:

Video: Multidisciplinary/Multimodality Management of Locally Recurrent Rectal Cancer

Podcast: Behind the Knife: Journal Review in Colorectal Surgery: Local Excision for Rectal Cancer

Video: Watch and wait vs. surgery: shared decision-making in locally advanced rectal cancer treatment


Prior to joining UNC Dr. Guillem had been an Attending Colorectal Surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York for nearly three decades and participated in the advancement of multidisciplinary management of all forms of primary and recurrent cancers of the colon, rectum, anus and appendix as well as the refinement of surgical techniques for resecting the colon, rectum and anus via open and minimally invasive approaches including Robotic and trans-anal microscopic procedures. These advancements have led to improved oncological outcomes and quality of life via preservation of anorectal, bladder and sexual function following curative rectal cancer surgery. He also has a keen interest in and has managed many patients afflicted with colorectal cancer at a young age as well as patients with Lynch Syndrome and/or other forms of polyposis syndromes.


Procedures for malignant and benign diseases of the colon, rectum, and anus including colon, rectal and anal cancer; inflammatory bowel disease; rectal prolapse; diverticulitis; risk-reducing surgery for Lynch Syndrome; Polyposis Syndromes; young-onset and other forms of inherited colorectal cancer with a focus on minimally invasive techniques including laparoscopic, robotic and transanal microscopic surgery.


Hereditary and early age-of-onset colorectal cancer; assessment of rectal cancer response to preoperative therapy; and health disparity research.


  • MBA: Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 2019
  • Colorectal Surgery Fellowship: Lahey Clinic Medical Center, Burlington, MA 1990 – 1991
  • Research Fellowship: Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, NY 1985 – 1987
  • Residency: Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, NY 1983 – 1990
  • MPH: Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 1988
  • MD: Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 1983
  • BA: New York University, New York, NY 1978


Surgery – Board Certified, 1991
Colon and Rectal Surgery – Board Certified, 1994


Search for publications on PubMed using Guillem J as search criteria

A call for more data on watch and wait approach for some rectal cancer cases

In a commentary in JAMA Oncology, José Gaston Guillem, MD, MPH, MBA, FACS, FASCRS, cautions against the rush to extend the treatment approach to patients whose cancer has nearly, but not completely, responded to chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Read about the commentary


Collaboration was Key for Woman Facing Colon Cancer Surgery   |  September 28, 2023

Read more about how Dr. Guillem’s work with a patient facing recurrent colon cancer impacted her.


A Story Twenty-Five Years in the Making  | February 2, 2021

The year was 1995, and Maria Frangella was a 27-year-old New Jersey native. A young woman looking forward to getting married to her future husband and best friend. Life had other plans for Maria, instead, she spent the year fighting colorectal cancer which led to her helping other young patients and fundraising for cancer research. Read more about Maria’s story.

  • Phone Numbers

    (919) 966-8436 (Office Phone)

  • (919) 966-8440 (Fax)

  • Address

    Division of Gastrointestinal Surgery

    4032 Burnett-Womack Building

    Campus Box 7081

    Chapel Hill, NC 27599