People with Family History Should Consider Being Screened During Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
Doctors at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi have performed keyhole surgery to save the life of a 39-year-old woman suffering from colon cancer.
The patient, Simran (not her real name), only discovered she had a five-centimeter malignant tumor in her colon when she ended up being hospitalized in Dubai with an unrelated stomach bug.
Doctors who worked on her case say that it highlights the importance of regular colon cancer screening, especially for patients with a family history of the disease.
“One of the biggest problems with detecting colon cancer is that, unlike many other forms of cancer, it can be completely symptomless,” said Dr. Shafik Sidani, Staff Physician, Colorectal Surgery at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. “We urge anyone with a strong family history of colon cancer, even if they are under the recommended screening age of 40 years old, to visit their healthcare provider and get checked out for this disease.”
As part of a series of tests, doctors used capsule endoscopy – a procedure that uses a tiny wireless camera inside a vitamin-sized capsule to take pictures of the digestive tract. It revealed that Simran was bleeding from a tumor in her cecum, the point next to the appendix where the small intestine meets the large intestine.
A work colleague recommended she visit Dr. Pascale Anglade, Staff Physician, Gastroenterology and Hepatology in the Digestive Disease Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.
After reviewing the results of her capsule endoscopy, Dr. Anglade suggested Simran have a full colonoscopy, including a biopsy of the tumor. This revealed that the tumor was malignant and measured around five centimeters.
“It was only then that I started to think about my own family history,” explained Simran. “None of my immediate family had had colon cancer but I had an uncle and a cousin who had both been diagnosed with colon cancer at relatively young ages.”
Based on this evidence, the doctors diagnosed the patient with a condition called Lynch Syndrome, a genetic disorder that increases her risk of developing colon cancer and other cancers. Doctors estimate that around three out of every 100 colon cancers are caused by Lynch Syndrome.
The results also meant that the best course of action was to have a right hemi-colectomy – surgery to remove the part of her colon affected by the tumor.
Dr. Sidani led the surgical team at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi in performing a right hemi-colectomy to remove between 10-12 centimeters of Simran’s large intestine.
“The patient was extremely fortunate that she managed to catch the tumor in its early stages and therefore was able to have it surgically removed without the need for further treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy,” said Dr. Sidani.
This March, doctors at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi are promoting greater awareness of colorectal cancer during Colon Cancer Awareness Month.
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Digestive Disease Institute provides gastrointestinal care for patients. It offers a number of advanced procedures including minimally invasive and robotic bariatric, hernia, gastrointestinal, and colorectal surgeries, as well as cutting-edge endoscopic procedures for tumor resection and the treatment of achalasia, and pancreatic and biliary diseases.
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is one of the Department of Health approved providers for colorectal cancer screening. To make an appointment at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, call 800 8 CCAD (800 8 2223).