Doctors Learn More About Diagnosing Rare Form of Cancer

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Diagnosing Cancer

Their experience treating a rare type of abdominal cancer has helpedphysicians at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center make a newdiscovery that may change the way it is diagnosed. The results arereported in the May issue of the American Journal of Surgical Pathology.

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"Our study suggests that tumors of the appendix that have spreadthrough the abdominal cavity all qualify as cancer," said Robert F.Bradley, M.D., principal investigator. "Previously, some of the tumorswere classified as 'benign,' which we believe gives a false sense ofhow the tumor will behave."

Bradley, a pathology resident, and colleagues focused on 101 patientswith pseudomyxoma peritonei, a rare form of cancer of the lining of theabdominal cavity. The cancer, which produces mucin, a "jelly-like"substance, usually originates in the appendix or colon and spreads tothe abdominal lining. Bradley evaluated all available microscopicslides in cases proven to come from the appendix.

Wake Forest is one of a few centers in the country that offer acombined treatment

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