Dubai: Rare tumour successfully removed from expat's oesophagus

He says that symptoms began six months prior



By SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Sat 6 Aug 2022, 3:40 PM

Last updated: Sat 6 Aug 2022, 10:35 PM

Filipino expat Norman Siguenza Cumpas, has successfully been treated for a rare tumour in the oesophagus at a hospital in Dubai.

The 40-year-old said that he was suffering from chronic cough for six months, adding that he was finding it increasingly difficult to swallow.

When he went to get a check-up, an X-ray of his chest revealed an abnormal shadow.

“I was in fear and often broke down when I was told it was difficult to treat such tumours,” said Cumpas.

“After visits to various hospitals, I consulted Dr Khaldoon Abo Dakka at Zulekha Hospital, Dubai and learned of the presence of a large horseshoe-shaped tumour encircling my food pipe.”

Dr Khaldoon Abo Dakka, specialist thoracic surgery at Zulekha Hospital Dubai, said: “An endoscopy with biopsies also showed a rare benign tumour that had developed in the smooth muscles of mid-oesophagus called ‘leiomyoma’ which is very rare, and constitutes less than 1 per cent of oesophageal tumours.”

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He added that such tumours develop over the period of a few years. This tumour was of 5.5cm, such large tumours can only be treated with surgical intervention.

"We did a minimally invasive, video-assisted, thoracoscopic excision of the oesophageal tumour with the primary repair of the oesophageal muscles. The resection of lung air cysts that were discovered incidentally by the CT scan of the chest, all through a single-port of entry of 4cm,” explained Dr Dakka.

The three-hour-long procedure was assisted by Dr Sameh Aboamer, consultant surgical oncology.

“During the procedure it is crucial to take care while dissecting the tumour away from the oesophageal lining mucosa (the internal layer of the esophageal wall), to avoid any tear in it. Since the missed tear might be catastrophic for patients causing a long hospitalization and complications,” said Dr Dakka.

Dr Aboamer said that the surgery was challenging as the tumour was positioned near vital organs. “The vital organs like lungs, heart and its surrounding tissues and significant nerves, large vessels in the chest, aorta and lung vessels were close and the procedure needed meticulous, careful dissection of the tumour,” Dr Aboamer said.

The minimally invasive VATS procedure is unique and reduces post-operative pain, and the patients return to a normal lifestyle earlier and are scar less. “I stayed at the hospital for three days, and it was because of the precaution that I had to take,” said Cumpas.

“I am on a soft diet, and am allowed to gradually restart my normal diet. The doctors told me that there was no risk of recurrence of the benign tumour,” said Cumpas.

“I am happy and feel much healthier now,” added Cumpas.

Cumpas’s family was thankful to the surgeons and team at the hospital for diagnosing the issue and the successful treatment.

Doctors advise individuals to consult a physician at the earliest when symptoms appear. They ask residents not to ignore any minor complaints including cough or difficulty swallowing as it may snowball into a much larger issue.


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