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Growing Tumor Removed from 37-Year-Old Woman’s food pipe in Life Saving Surgery at Paras Hospitals Gurgaon

Saana is a mother of three from Iraq who came all the way to India after being treated wrongly in her country; Paras Hospital Gurgaon was quick enough to diagnose her tumor and suggest her the correct surgery

Gurgaon, 3 June 2015: A 37-year-old Iraqi woman, a mother of three, has undergone a major life-saving surgery at Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon, to remove a cancer of the throat that affected her food pipe as well as her voice box, making it impossible for her to consume food and posing a major threat to her life.

Several months back, Saana from Iraq underwent a surgery for a thyroid-related complication. However, the surgery failed and resulted in major complication in her condition. Such was her condition that everything that Saana consumed would come out through the wound in her neck. The situation became very grotesque and painful. Another round of medical examination including a biopsy this time found it to be a case of cancer growing out of her food pipe or Oesophagus.

The diagnosis shook Saana and her family. With three young children – two daughters and a son — to take care of, she could not afford a life-threatening condition and desperately wanted to live. Wasting no more time, the woman travelled to India to seek further medical treatment. Saana, first consulted a renowned private hospital in the country, where she was recommended radiation and chemotherapy to treat the cancer. However, even after six months of treatment, her condition remained vulnerable because she was not getting proper advice and further treatment. This time, Saana decided to seek consultation at Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon as a last resort.

Gauging the seriousness of the condition, the hospital immediately took her in for proper diagnosis to understand the entire scenario. Based on clinical examination, an MRI screening, blood tests and a true cut biopsy, Dr. Rakesh Dhurkhare, Consultant, GI Surgery,established it to be a case of a large tumor arising from her Oesophagus and going into her Larynx. Working in tandem with Dr Sudip Raina, Senior Consultant, Surgical Oncology, the doctor decided that since the cancer was spreading, there was little time to lose in surgically removing it. They also arrived at the conclusion that they will have to remove the entire food pipe as well as voice box, if there has to be hope to save the patient’s life.

“With the task of mothering three children, Saana came in with lots of responsibilities on her shoulder. She was carrying this cancer since the last eight months. Given its location, she found it difficult to eat or drink anything. The fact that the cancer stretched from food pipe to voice box, we decided to go ahead with the surgical intervention to make sure the patient’s life was saved. We found the best mechanism to save her life would be to remove her food pipe and voice box. The surgery was a success and Saana reported normal to her post surgery tests and monitoring, “said Dr Rakesh Dhurkhare.

The surgery that lasted …8 hours 15 min involved removing the cancer-affected oesophagus and larynx. During the procedure, the food pipe was then reconstructed by pulling up the stomach and connecting it to the remaining healthy portion of the pipe. At the same time, the surgery to remove larynx also involved a voice restoration procedure to enable the patient speak and communicate after recovery taking help from speech therapy. The cancer originating from her food pipe had eroded into her voice box damaging left half of her larynx.

To live more she had to sacrifice her voice for some time after surgery.

Challenges during surgery were two.

1. Cancer higher up in neck so we had to bring new food pipe up to base of tongue to join it there.

2. Half of the stomach could not be used for making new food pipe as it was already destroyed by surgeons of Iraq during surgery.

“Saana was under immense pain. Further, her inability to take food made her weaker. The failed thyroid surgery, which she had undergone earlier, had further worsened her case. There was also a probability of tumor affecting other organs if it was not treated correctly. She had already wasted a considerable amount of time in seeking wrong treatment. We are happy that we could help get rid of the tumor, which could have affected her entire family by taking away her life,” added Dr Sudip Raina.

The doctors at Paras Hospital are quite satisfied with Saana’s overall recovery and are hopeful that he will recover completely from such a grave injury in the next few days. Five days after the surgery, she is now accepting water orally after 8 long months.

The episode also highlights the untold story of lack of right diagnosis, the resultant wrong treatment and negligence that often takes place in India and other nations despite availability of modern technology and resources.

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