ESD: Removing tumors without a scar

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Removing lesions inside the stomach used to mean a large incision and a lot of cutting. But now there's an easier approach. Doctors are removing tumors without a scar.

Cheryl Capitena-Johnson loves to experiment in the kitchen, but when it comes to her health, she's not taking any chances.

Cheryl told ABC30, "Once I hit my 50s, I decided that I was going to be very proactive about my health."

Cheryl's father died of stomach cancer and she was right by his side as the cancer took his life.

"I saw him go through this ugly, ugly disease, and I decided that was not going to be my fate," she said.

But about three years ago, doctors found two suspicious lesions in Cheryl's stomach.

Cheryl explained, "There was really only one option, to get them out, to get them removed."

Instead of traditional surgery to remove part or all of the stomach, doctors at the Cleveland Clinic used a new technique known as ESD.

John Rodriguez, MD, General Surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic told ABC30, "Now what we're actually trying to do is get rid of the incisions all together."

Surgeons place an endoscopic tube down the patient's throat. They use special instruments through that tube to cut the lesions, without cutting the organ. With this technique, they can remove the tumor layer by layer.

"When we go in with the endoscope, we're able to almost peel off these layers without taking a full thickness part of the organ," Dr. Rodriguez explained.

There's no outward incision, which means a quicker recovery. Cheryl was back at work a week later and found out her lesions were not cancer.

"I'm blessed to be alive, I'm blessed," she said.

Cheryl will have a diagnostic scope test every year because she is at high-risk for stomach cancer. The ESD technique can be used to remove gastric, esophageal, and colorectal lesions. If the spots are cancerous, they must be early-stage tumors to be taken out this way. The procedure was originally developed in Japan, but has only recently gained popularity in the U.S.

For more information on this report, please contact:

Caroline Auger
(216) 636-5874
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