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Patient Stories

  • Ray Martz

    Eric Nakakura and Research Group Awarded $1.2M Grant to Study Small Intestinal Neuroendocrine Tumors

    Accelerator Grantees 3 2
    Eric Nakakura, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Surgery at UCSF and a leading authority on neuroendocrine tumors of the gastrointestinal tract and pancreas, is among a team of researchers awarded $1.2M grant by the Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation (NETRF) to elucidate the causes of small intestinal neuroendocrine tumors (SI-NETs). Dr. Nakakura said the research would help to unlock the mysteries of the disease and lead to more effective potentially curative treatments: "This project arose from unexpected clinical observations of a rare disease, which has puzzled all for over a[...]
    Story Tags: Carcinoid SyndromeGastrointestinal Neuroendocrine (Carcinoid) TumorsLiver MetastasesSmall Intestine Cancer
  • Ray Martz

    Eric Nakakura and Emily Bergsland Discuss Carcinoid Syndrome Treatment on "Healthy Body, Healthy Mind" Series

    Bergsland And Nakakura
    Eric Nakakura, M.D., Ph.D., a UCSF gastrointestinal cancer surgeon and Emily Bergsland, M.D.. a UCSF gastrointestinal oncologist, recently discussed the treatment of carcinoid syndrome on "Healthy Body, Healthy Mind", a series hosted by Information Television Network (ITV), a PBS content affiliate. Dr. Nakakura is an Associate Professor in the UCSF Department of Surgery and Dr. Bergsland a Professor in the UCSF Department of Medicine. The ITV episode, which portrays the struggles of Ray Martz with carcinoid syndrome, recounts the situation he initially faced - that his condition was[...]
    Story Tags: Carcinoid SyndromeGastrointestinal Neuroendocrine (Carcinoid) TumorsLiver Metastases
  • Mansfield Doi

    Surgery Wellness Program Eases Path to Surgery

    Mansfield Doi
    My father Mansfield Doi was undergoing endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, or ERCP, a procedure used to correct a narrowing in the bile ducts. The advantage of ERCP is that it is non-invasive, but after repeated procedures showed limited effectiveness, his UCSF gastroenterologist suggested surgery. He was referred to Dr. Hobart Harris, Chief of the Division of General Surgery at UCSF, who determined that medically he was a candidate for surgery. However, because of his age – my dad is 86 - Dr. Harris encouraged us to coordinate with the UCSF Surgery Wellness Program, which was a[...]
  • Rose Gutierrez

    Letting Patients Call the Shots

    Jasmine Wong
    The "shared decision-making" model fosters a higher level of collaboration between doctors and the people they treat. Rose Gutierrez has a big decision to make. Gutierrez, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last spring, had surgery and 10 weeks of chemotherapy. But the cancer is still there. Now Jasmine Wong (pictured right), a surgeon at the University of California, San Francisco, is explaining the choices—Gutierrez can either have another lumpectomy followed by radiation, or she can get a total mastectomy. "I think both options are reasonable," Wong said. "It's just a matter of how[...]
    Story Tags: Breast Cancer
  • Lata Mohan

    Bouncing Back Fast After Minimally Invasive Surgery

    Lata Mohan
    Lata Mohan tackles life's challenges with grace and humor. In 2012, when a colonoscopy revealed a large tumor in her colon, Mohan's children launched an exhaustive search for the best possible surgeon to treat her. When the family met with Dr. Madhulika Varma, they clicked immediately. Describe your life before your diagnosis. I was living with my daughter and surrounded by my family, including my children and two grandchildren. My husband had been very ill, and I was the one who took care of him. I felt like I could do it all. It never[...]
    Story Tags: Colon Cancer
  • Herbert E. Barker Jr.

    "Exceptional" Care at UCSF Center for Colorectal Surgery for Rectal Cancer Survivor

    I too am a rectal cancer survivor. My relationships with the hospital at UCSF and with Dr. Varma’s team was like yours: exceptional. I am now nearly four years out from “D Day” (April 17, 2009) and thus far, no recurrence. We are truly fortunate and blessed to have been exposed to this disease when we were. There is now so much that can be done with the number of treatments available. Hope you are now and remain ok. I continue to support the UCSF Center for Colorectal Surgery as I participate in the research project. And, I too got back to a gym routine and feel great. Good luck! -Herbert[...]
    Story Tags: Rectal Cancer
  • Dan Martin

    Minimally Invasive Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery (TEM) Rules Out Cancer

    Earlier today Dr. Hueylan Chern called me to let me know that I don’t have cancer and that the transanal endoscopic microsurgical (TEM) excision procedure was a success. I really don’t know how to say ‘Thank You’ in a way that relays my true emotions. Obviously, I’m ecstatic and my family is also. You were my first contact at UCSF, you made the recommendation to use this procedure and it will forever positively impact my life. I am also especially happy that we went with the TEM over the more invasive procedure. Along the way you helped reassure me that you thought this was the right[...]
    Story Tags: Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery (TEM)
  • Tom Bassett

    Hitting Cancer "Hard and Heavy"

    I found out I had colorectal cancer at 47. As an otherwise active and healthy person, when I saw traces of blood where they shouldn’t be, I chalked it up to my bike riding. Yet because of a family history of colon cancer and a father-in-law in the medical field, I thought I would preemptively get a colonoscopy, which turned out to be a wise decision.  Results for patients who discover colorectal cancer early are generally good, and the majority of patients with early stage disease are cured. However, despite my luck at finding the cancer early on, it was staged as III. I would require[...]
    Story Tags: Colon Cancer
  • Courtney Annotti

    Life After Ulcerative Colitis Surgery Feels Amazing

    Colorectal Photo Courntey Annotti
    My name is Courtney Annotti. I’m 22 years old and was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (UC) eight years ago. UC is a chronic condition that causes long-lasting inflammation in the large intestine. For years I experienced pain that would come and go, and the anxiety of always having to know where a bathroom was. I tried several medications to control my symptoms, but to no avail. Concerned that my condition was worsening day by day, my gastroenterologist referred me to UCSF to meet with Dr. Madhulika Varma, Chief of Colorectal Surgery at UCSF.  When I met with Dr. Varma, I immediately felt[...]
    Story Tags: ColectomyOstomy Surgery: Ileostomy & ColostomyUlcerative Colitis
  • Sandy Raffi-Rashed

    Surgery Ends Decades of Obesity, New Life Begins

    Sandy Raffi-Rashed after losing 185 pounds
    Sandy Raffi-Rashed after losing 185 poundsWhen Sandy Raffi-Rashed, a 60-year-old mother of two, went to the airport to pick up her youngest son visiting from Manhatten, he didn't recognize her. "I was waving to him from the car and he thought, 'Who is that strange woman waving at me?" says Raffi-Rashed, of Novato, Calif. "Then, when he saw me, he said, 'Oh my God!'" His mother had undergone a transformation after weight-loss surgery. In July of 2011, Raffi-Rashed had gastric bypass surgery at the Bariatric Surgery Center at UCSF Medical[...]
    Story Tags: Laparoscopic Gastric BypassObesityPost-Bariatric Body Contouring
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