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Sharjah surgeon saves expat by removing rare tumour
By a Staff Reporter July 16, 2018
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SHARJAH: Elham Issah, a 49 years-old Jordanian expat living in UAE, was successfully treated for Thymoma, a rare worldwide cancer type that infects the thymus gland. The tumor was treated by thoracoscopic en bloc resection carried out by a surgeon at Zulekha Hospital Sharjah.

The patient originally visited the hospital for a CT (computed tomography) scan for a regular check-up after being free from a breasttumor, which resulted in the discovery of the rare Thymoma.

After a series of tests including chest CT scan and blood tests, the medical team led by Dr. Khaldoon Abo Dakka, Specialist Thoracic Surgeon, discovered a kind of malignancy on the thymus gland that might generate systemic symptoms of Myasthenia gravis, a disease that weakens body muscles and hence increase the risk of surgical resection as well as post-operative complications.

According to a study on Epidemiology of Thymoma and associated malignancies published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Thymoma is a rare malignancy of unknown etiology. Based on cancer registry data, the overall incidence in the U.S. is 0.13 per 100,000 people.

The article also reveals that the disease is exceedingly uncommon in children and young adults, rises in incidence in middle age, and peaks in the seventh decade of life.*

“Few hospitals in UAE have specialist Thoracic Surgeons who are experienced in Thoracoscopic thymoma resection. This specific operation was significantly difficult due to the large size of the 5.5 cm tumor, which was lying between the lungs, in front of the heart, adjacent to primary blood vessels. Surgical resection was sufficient in this case with no requirement for any adjuvant chemo – radiotherapy and the tumor was completely resected,” said Dr Abo Dakka.

“Thoracoscopic intervention is preferable for a patient’s future lifestyle due to many factors including a shorter hospital stay and early discharge, less pain, the possibility of quickly going back to resuming day to day activities and the additional cosmetic aspect,” he added.

Sharing her comments after the surgery, Elham said, ““Initially, I was afraid of the post-surgery pain I might suffer following the removal of the tumour. I am very grateful to Dr. Khaldoon and his team, who put me at ease and ensured that the operation went smoothly and was a success. I have no pain or complaints post-surgery.”

The patient was shifted to the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) for one day after the surgery and then was discharged after a total of four days in the hospital to go back to her normal day to day life.

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