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Follow colon cancer surgery on Twitter

To raise awareness about colon cancer prevention and screening, Sunnybrook live-tweeted a laparoscopic right hemicolectomy on November 12, 2014.

The live-tweet included photos, short videos & educational info about colon cancer. View the recap to the right. 

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About the procedure

A laparoscopic right hemicolectomy is a minimally invasive surgery used to address colon cancer located on the right side of the colon, which includes the cecum and ascending colon. The right side of the colon is removed completely with only tiny incisions. General anesthesia is required for this procedure.

This procedure was originally described as laparoscopic assisted with a smaller midline incision. At Sunnybrook, we have adapted this to offer a fully intracorporeal (inside the body) procedure, allowing us to create a small suprapubic incision to remove the bowel from the abdomen. Dr. Shady Ashamalla and other Sunnybrook researchers are currently looking at over 900 laparoscopic right hemicolectomies to determine if these intracorporeal approach results are superior.

About the care team

The team will be led by Dr. Shady Ashamalla, a surgical oncologist at Sunnybrook’s Odette Cancer Centre with special expertise in minimally invasive surgery for cancers of the lower gastrointestinal tract. University of Toronto surgical oncology fellow Dr. Vanessa Palter will be on hand to explain the surgery and answer questions. It takes a whole team to perform a right hemicolectomy, and each member plays an important role.

  • Anesthetist: Dr. Oskar Singer
  • Anesthetist Assistant: Dr. Ken Lee
  • Scrub Nurse: Irene Bergado, RN
  • Circulating Nurse: Sherry Porter, RN
  • Surgical Assistant: Senior UofT Resident Dr. Boris Zevin

Here's a look at who will be in the OR during the procedure.

» Learn more about colorectal cancer care at Sunnybrook

About the patient

Panagiota is in her early 70s and was diagnosed with colon cancer after being referred for colonoscopy by her family doctor. Sadly, she lost her husband, and father, to the disease. She and her family hope to make others aware of the importance of screening, and to explore options if treatment is needed.

Why a live tweet?

Every week, roughly 423 Canadians hear the words "You have colorectal cancer."

For these patients, and their friends and families, the diagnosis is just the start. There's the treatment and recovery, and just getting up to speed on what's ahead. The goal of this live tweet event is to educate the public on prevention and screening while giving a firsthand view of surgical treatment.

» QUIZ: Colon cancer prevention and surgery: how much do you know?

Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of death for Canadian women and men, but it's also a highly treatable cancer if detected early. Please ask questions and, remember, talk to your doctor about getting screened.

How it works

The hospital's web communications team will be tweeting updates and answering questions from inside the operating room. University of Toronto surgical oncology fellow Dr. Vanessa Palter — who is not involved in the surgery — will help explain the procedure and answer questions from the public.

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View an archive of the live-tweet »

Colon cancer surgery live-tweet archive