Collaboration Catalyzes Speedy Care for Colon Cancer Patient

A routine colonoscopy revealed colon cancer in Sandhya, pictured with her daughter.Madison, Wisconsin - Sandhya was just 30 years old and a busy mom with a young daughter. Thankfully, she wasn’t too busy to pay attention to her body.


When she found some blood in her stool, she decided to schedule an appointment with her physician.


"I was 30 years old, had no history of colon cancer, and assumed it was a hemorrhoid," said Sandhya.


When Dr. Deepak Gopal performed a colonoscopy, he discovered a tumor. A biopsy and prompt results confirmed she had colon cancer.


Dr. Gopal also immediately performed a rectal EUS (endoscopic ultrasound), which helped further stage the tumor and guide therapy.


"By performing these tests in a timely fashion," said Dr. Gopal, "we were able to gather as much information as possible about the rectal cancer and then quickly give that data to our colleagues in colorectal surgery and oncology. Working in this collaborative, multidisciplinary approach allows us to provide prompt, patient-centered care, and hopefully improve outcomes."


Sandhya was sent to the UW Carbone Cancer Center where she underwent a thorough review by radiation and medical oncology. First she received six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation treatment, and then Dr. Gregory Kennedy performed surgery to remove the tumor. Sandhya then received more chemotherapy treatments.


"We were able to approach this operation in a minimally invasive fashion," said Dr. Kennedy. "By using the laparoscopic (or robotic approach) to rectal cancer, we reduce complications, decrease the length of time the patient is in the hospital and are able to get patients on to the next phase of treatment more quickly."


Sandhya is thankful for the prompt and expert care she received from UW Health. She recalls the shock of learning she had cancer, but also the loving support she received from her family. At the time, her mother was visiting from India and stayed for the year, and then her brother arrived and stayed for two years to provide support to Sandhya, her husband and young daughter.


Sandhya is grateful that she paid attention to her body, and quickly sought medical care. That was a life-saving step that allowed her to beat out cancer and be here to watch her daughter grow. Sandhya encourages people to get a colonoscopy, and not wait.


Most importantly, she says "Always have hope."

Date Published: 03/21/2013

News tag(s):  DHSpatientdigestive health

News RSS Feed