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Caught in the Nick of Time

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 7:58 AM

Anne Wilson found herself in a bit of a quandary last year. She was due for her 10-year routine colonoscopy, but her calendar was jam-packed— including reservations for a trip abroad. So she initially opted to delay the screening.

“I have no history of colon cancer in my family, and I wasn’t experiencing any symptoms beyond some recurring heartburn,” the 67-year-old from Evanston recalled.


Timing is Everything

Despite the time crunch, Wilson scheduled an endoscopy at NorthShore to address the cause of her heartburn. She also agreed to have the screening colonoscopy at the same time. Little did she know it would be a lifesaving decision, thanks to the evaluation she would receive from NorthShore's Advanced Therapeutic Endoscopy team.

During Wilson’s colonoscopy, her doctor spotted a large and aggressive precancerous polyp. “Anne was fortunate to have her colonoscopy when she did because she was at risk of developing invasive cancer within a matter of months,” explained her doctor. “Surgery was the best option to ensure complete removal of the polyp.”

“I’m so glad I followed the advice to have the colonoscopy,” said Wilson. “Little did I know that it would catch cancer in the nick of time and save my life!”

Early Detection is Key

Colonoscopy is the only way to screen for precancerous polyps and prevent cancer before symptoms develop. Up to 90 percent of colorectal cancers are curable if caught early.

The doctor consulted with NorthShore Surgeon Joseph Muldoon, MD, a pioneer in performing laparoscopic colon surgery. Both physicians hold academic appointments at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

Within days, Wilson underwent successful surgery, using a few small incisions to remove the precancerous section of her colon. She did not need follow-up chemotherapy or radiation.

“She truly benefited from our multidisciplinary collaboration at NorthShore,” said her doctor, “and the result was an outstanding outcome.”

“I can’t say enough good things about my care at NorthShore,” added Wilson. “My doctors were all connected with each other and with me. I’m lucky and want others to know the importance of these screenings.”

“I can’t say enough good things about my care at NorthShore,” said Anne Wilson after her GI team spotted a dangerous precancerous polyp during a screening colonoscopy.

“NorthShore puts colonoscopy among its highest priorities in preventive care,” noted Jay Goldstein, MD, the Roy F. Kehl Chair of Gastroenterology, who holds an academic title at the Pritzker School of Medicine. “We’re proactively reaching out to encourage everyone to get regular screenings.”