Patient Story 6Penile cancer patient gets new lease of life
Jun 7, 2013
Sumitra Deb Roy

MUMBAI: A 52-year-old man, suffering from a rare form of penile cancer, had given up all hope after one of the premier hospitals declared him “inoperable”, given his advanced stage of cancer, which was compounded by hepatitis infection. But he received a new lease of life when doctors at a Mulund hospital removed the tumour.

H Patil from Navi Mumbai was diagnosed with sarcoma, a form of cancer in the penis, around six months ago, but he initially tried out alternative treatment, before opting for surgery. Owing to the delay, the tumour grew from 2 cm to almost 12 cm, and weighed more than 4 kg. When he visited one of the renowned cancer treatment hospitals, the doctors termed his case “inoperable”, and even said his days were numbered. Penile cancer is usually dreaded for its aggression and high recurrence rate.

Last week, however, doctors at Vertex Hospital in Mulund operated upon Patil and removed the tumour in an eight-hour surgery. The tumour, which had originally developed on his left thigh, kept moving upwards every time it recurred, and finally covered his groin.

‘Penile cancers are uncommon. In his case though, the tumour was big and involved some main blood vessels in his thigh. He had a very high possibility of losing a limb but we managed to avoid it,” said consultant cancer surgeon Dr Amit Gandhi, adding that a team of experts from the cardiac and plastic surgery specialty were kept as a standby if the surgery took an untoward turn. “Patil suffered from the rare form of cancer, sarcomatoid carcinoma of penis, wherein the disease originates from blood vessels.” In 95% penile cancer cases, the disease grows in skin cells.

Patil’s son-in-law, Shailesh Mhatre, said the symptoms started showing last year. “He would suffer excruciating pain in the groin and thigh, spending sleepless nights. He lived with it for around two months before seeing a doctor,” he said, adding that the diagnosis came as a shock to them. “We have never heard of anyone suffering from cancer of the penis.” Statistics also show that the prevalence of penile cancer among Indian men is 1.8 per 1 lakh population.

The father of five underwent a surgery at a Navi Mumbai hospital at the beginning of the year. But the tumour recurred within three months. This time, Patil approached a renowned cancer centre where he was termed inoperable. The family then approached Gandhi, who decided to operate on him. Mhatre said Patil was feeling much better now and soon intended to start his routine activities.

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Word cancer is so scary, but he makes life wonderful, undoubtedly a very good onco surgeno.

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