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Patients with Peutz-Jeghers syndrome need cancer screening

Update: December, 20/2017 - 09:00
Small, dark spots on the lips are characteristic of Peutz-Jeghers syndrome. Photo courtesy of Bình Dân Hospital
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY— Patients with Peutz-Jeghers syndrome need frequent cancer screenings as the likelihood of developing cancer is high, according to doctors.

A 30-year-old woman from the Mekong Delta province of Bến Tre who for years had small, dark spots on her lips, a sign of Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, was diagnosed this year with the disease after she received treatment for polyps in her gastrointestinal tract.

Six years ago, she had surgery to remove polyps, but there was no diagnosis of the syndrome at that time.

Recently, she received a capsule endoscopy procedure, which uses a tiny wireless camera to view the digestive tract, at Bình Dân Hospital in HCM City where doctors diagnosed and treated her for Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, in which noncancerous growths in the gastrointestinal tract exist in association with a distinct pattern of melanin deposits on the skin.

Dr Nguyễn Tạ Quyết of the hospital said people who have the syndrome have a greatly increased risk of developing certain types of cancer of the gastrointestinal tract, pancreas, cervix, ovary, and breast, with a chance of more than 93 per cent.

Quyết said that only one of 50,000 to 200,000 people worldwide have the syndrome, which is an inherited disorder.

According to medical website Medscape, the syndrome is associated with increased breast, gynecologic, testicular, pancreatic, and thyroid papillary malignancy.

About 48 per cent of patients with Peutz-Jeghers syndrome die from cancer by age 57. Others may have a normal life span, the website said.

Dr Quyết of Bình Dân Hospital said that people who have small, dark-colored spots on the lips and around the cheeks should visit a hospital for diagnosis.

Patients with Peutz-Jeghers syndrome should receive periodic health examinations to prevent cancer, he said.

Screening of the large intestine, upper digestive tract, small intestine, breasts, stomach, thyroid gland, spleen, uterus and ovary should begin when the patient is 15 years old, he added. —VNS


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