New procedure helps patients with colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer is on the rise in younger people. It is the third leading cause of cancer-related death in both men and women. Now a new procedure is not only helping patients diagnosed with rectal cancer fight their battle with cancer, but it is also saving some patients from a permanent lifestyle change.

This young mother of three didn’t think much about her subtle symptoms.
Annie Schreiber said, “The symptoms I had were much like symptoms of a hemorrhoid or other really benign conditions.”

Schreiber was 36, with no family history of colorectal cancers. Even her doctors wanted to take a wait-and-see approach. But then Schreiber read an article of two people her age who had been diagnosed with stage four colorectal cancer and had died.

“That scared me. I have three kids and it’s not worth the gamble,” said Schreiber.
So, Schreiber scheduled a colonoscopy. Her diagnosis? Rectal cancer. Scott R. Steele, MD, MBA, Chairman of Colorectal Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic believed Schreiber would be a good candidate for the TaTME, which stands for transanal total mesorectal excision.

“What TaTME allows us to basically do is to take those toughest cancers, the cancers in patients who have those that are closest to the anus or big cancer and allows us to get them out and still reestablish the bowel continuity,” Dr. Steele said.

Which means that the patient will have an overall speedy recovery, lower risk of complications and will have no need for a permanent colostomy bag. For Schreiber, that option made a huge difference to her quality of life.

“It’s a real gift to have the opportunity to not have that permanent operation to your body,” Schreiber said.

Dr. Steele says the TaTME procedure can also be used for people who need proctectomies and those with pouches for inflammatory bowel disease, specifically those with ulcerative colitis.

Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Field Producer; Hayley Hudson, Assistant Producer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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