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Sen. Dick Durbin has stomach tumor surgery

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WASHINGTON--Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) had surgery Thursday to remove a small tumor from his stomach. He is awaiting a biopsy result to determine if the tumor was cancerous. A preliminary biopsy showed no signs of a malignancy and surgeons found no cancer in the rest of Durbin's body, his spokesman said.

Durbin, 65, was resting after minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery at the University of Chicago Medical Center to have what is called a GIST-- "gastro-intestinal stromal"-- tumor removed from his stomach.

Durbin spokesman Joe Shoemaker said, "These types of tumors are medically defined as cancer, but the one removed showed no sign of being maligant," according to a preliminary biopsy.

According to Shoemaker, the tumor had not spread to stomach lining cells and doctors found no evidence the tumor had spread to other sites. He said Durbin discovered the problem "a few weeks ago" in a routine medical exam.

"Subsequent examinations of Durbin's esophagus and stomach showed no cancer," Shoemaker said in a statement announcing the surgery.

The American Cancer Society, at its website states, "not all GISTs are cancerous. Some are benign (not cancerous) -- they don't grow into other areas or spread to other parts of the body."

Durbin, said Shoemaker, is expected to resume a "light schedule" in a few days and a full schedule as soon as next week.

below, Durbin release.....

Senator Expects to Resume Light Schedule within Days/Full Schedule Next Week
[CHICAGO, IL] - Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) today underwent surgery at the University of Chicago Medical Center to have a small gastro-intestinal stromal tumor (GIST) removed from his stomach. The tumor was not present in the lining cells of the stomach; it was completely removed and preliminary biopsy results demonstrate a favorable prognosis. According to Durbin's doctors, there was no evidence that the tumor had spread beyond the site from which it was removed.

Durbin discovered the problem a few weeks ago during a routine medical check-up. Subsequent examinations of Durbin's esophagus and stomach showed no cancer. The small size of the abnormality on the senator's stomach lent itself to complete removal through a procedure known as laparoscopic partial gastric resection. Following his recovery from surgery, doctors do not expect Durbin to require further treatment.

"Senator Durbin went through today's surgical procedure with flying colors and is resting comfortably," said Durbin spokesman, Joe Shoemaker. "He expects to be released from the hospital and resume a light schedule in the next couple days, and should be able to resume a full schedule as soon as next week."

Partial gastric resections are seen as safe and appropriate treatments for patients with gastro-intestinal stromal tumors. The procedure involves the removal of part of the stomach, completely excising the potentially affected area. As in the case of Sen. Durbin's surgery, many of these operations can be performed through a minimally invasive procedure known as laparoscopy.

GIST occurs in approximately 4,000-6,000 people each year in the United States and account for about 1% of tumors of the stomach and small intestine; more than 150,000 gastric resections were performed in the United States in 2009.


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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on August 12, 2010 12:44 PM.

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