Revolutionary colon cancer procedure

A state-of-the-art procedure for colon cancer is getting patients back on their feet much faster and with minimal scarring.  It involves a fluorescent dye and small incision. We got to go into the operating room at Houston Methodist Hospital to find out how it helped a local man. He still can't believe he's fighting disease so young in life and thankful he found out about this procedure. Houston Methodist is one of the only hospitals in the country who has made this procedure part of their routine treatment. 

Nathanael Moreau's journey began one night after work. 

"I had shortness of breath, couldn't sleep, and felt like I was suffocating, so I went to the E.R. and found out my hemoglobin was low, I was losing blood somewhere," he explains. 

Nathanael never imagined it would be coming from his abdomen. He was quickly diagnosed with colon cancer. Even though the disease runs in his family, he was surprised it happened to him in his mid-30's. 

"My dad had it twice, eight years apart, his mother had it, two sisters, uncles, cousins, to give you the exact number, I don't know exact - but too many," Nathanael exclaims. 

He lost many of them to the disease.  He found out about Dr. Eric Haas at Houston Methodist Hospital. His positive attitude was just what Nathanael was looking for.  The surgeon says he was excited to offer Nathanael hope and an ideal option for treatment. 

"He came in frightened, he's scared, he's there with his family and to be able to tell him 'you're going to be OK, we are going to take the tumor out and you'll be able to live a normal, healthy life' means the world to me, great feeling," explains Dr. Haas.      

Like so many patients before, Nathanael's family members had to have a huge incision to remove their cancer.  Not anymore.  Now, they're able to go through the navel, and now they're taking it one step further by injecting a florescent dye. 

"When it comes time to put the colon together, we inject dye into the colon and it lights up - the part of the colon that's normal and healthy, so that allows us to know precisely where we can go to put the two ends together to have a successful surgery," says Dr. Haas.

Dr. Haas says this lowers the chance that the patient will have to lose even more of the colon and need a colostomy. 

"The main advantage of this, before we could just use our eyes - which was pretty good, as to where the good healthy part was together, but this gives us phenomenal advantage of knowing precisely where the blood supply starts and stops to really know that we're going to have a safe outcome in surgery," says Dr. Haas.

Surgeons had Nathanael up and walking a few hours after his procedure. He's impressed and relieved he has completed all of his rounds of chemotherapy.

"I thought it was fascinating!  When my dad had it at the VA, they cut him right down the middle. When I woke up, I didn't know what kind of cut I'd have - but only two inches in my navel, that was impressive!  knowing what they had to go through and take out - that's pretty cool," he states.

Nathanael believes a positive attitude can help anyone going through a medical crisis.  "

God's not going to put anything on you that you can't handle, so have a positive upbeat attitude and just do what you need to do - don't give up - you can beat it," smiles Nathanael.

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