Doctors at Fortis Hospital here performed a life saving Whipple surgery, a first in India, on a six-month pregnant pancreatic cancer patient from Afghanistan.Fahima, was five and a half months pregnant when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. On account of her pregnancy, she could also not undergo chemotherapy.In addition, her uterus was already quite large and above the umbilicus. It was already obscuring access to the pancreas.A surgery to remove the cancer from the pancreas, in this condition, was difficult and posed a potential risk for both the mother and the baby."In a standard Whipple's operation, we remove the cancerous tumour together with the head of pancreas, remove part of the stomach, small intestine, gall bladder, bile duct, and lymph nodes and reattach the remaining organs (allowing for the normal digestion of food).
This was a complex procedure considering that the cancerous area (in the pancreas) and the uterus were very close to one another," said Amit Javed, Director, Gastrointestinal Oncology, Fortis Flt. Lt. Rajan Dhall Hospital, Vasant Kunj, in a statement on Thursday."All necessary measures were taken during the procedure to ensure complete cancer removal; the foetus was not harmed in any way and the mother remained safe," he added.The surgery, which took four hours, was done without 'moving the baby' and the postoperative tests showed complete tumour removal and a healthy baby. Fahima had a smooth post-operative recovery and was discharged after seven days, the doctors said."The Whipple surgery proved to be a lifeline for me. I was adamant that this pregnancy was very important to me. Dr Javed and his team gave me hope and it is because of their expertise, skill and faith that me and my baby are alive today. I will always be grateful and thankful to them for giving me a new lease of life and for saving my child," Fahima said.