Having suffered through cancer himself, this doctor wanted to help makes things better for patients.
Earlier this month, a woman in the U.S suffering from ovarian cancer had a deadly tumor removed from her abdomen. There are, unfortunately, likely a number of women who can say the same, but this operation performed by Dr. Greg J. Marchand, was particularly different.
It marked the first time a cancerous tumor so large was removed using such a small incision. In doing so, it involved a world record.
Dr. Marchand and his surgical team in Mesa, Arizona were awarded the prize by the Guinness Book of World Records for removing an ovarian tumor that was a stunning 6.69 inches across through a tiny cut.
To get an idea of how big that is, the growth was about the size of a junior soccer ball (!), and it was taken out through an incision smaller than a dime.
It wasn’t the work of Houdini, but Dr. Marchand says he accomplished it all using a technique called “In-Bag” Morcellation, a procedure he invented himself. Marchand felt inspired to change things for cancer patients when he suffered through aggressive testicular cancer himself, back in 2010.
Using his creative mind, Marchand’s goal was to come up with some way to remove patients’ tumors without making a large gash in their body that leaves behind a big scar.
In this award-winning case, the team first placed a medical bag inside the female patient’s body. They did this through tiny cuts made in her belly button. The bag was then placed around the cancerous tumor in her abdomen, and the growth was broken apart into pieces, inside the container.
The cancerous bits were then taken out of her body patiently, one by one, through the same minuscule incisions made at the beginning to get the bag in.
A typical surgery with a large scar, compared with Dr. Marchand’s technique.
The whole thing means that patients can now walk away from major cancer surgery with fewer battle scars and little physical reminder of the ordeal they had to go through, which Dr. Marchand applauds.
“I know what it’s like to face a diagnosis,” Marchand said. “In my opinion, advancements in the surgical treatment of cancer are just as important as the newest cancer-fighting drugs and chemotherapy agents. If we can use minimally invasive surgery to take some of the recovery time and complications out of cancer surgery, then I think we’ve really done a lot of good for patients fighting cancer.”
It’s work that cancer patients worldwide will likely be thankful for, for a while to come.