Alvin mom treated for colorectal cancer with minimally invasive surgery, no hospital stay

Here are some of the signs

ALVIN – It’s the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States for men and women combined -- colorectal cancer.

Doctors are finding patients are being diagnosed younger.

Stephanie Reetz of Alvin was 35 years old when she was diagnosed.

Within a month of getting the news, she was having surgery, chemo and radiation. But thanks to minimally invasive techniques, she never stayed a night in the hospital, which was very important to her young family.

The one thing she worried about the most with her diagnosis was the thought of being away, even for one night, from her children.

Stephanie has never been away overnight from her kids, who are ages 5 and 8.

With the outpatient transanal procedure performed by Dr. Theodoros “Ted” Voloyiannis, colorectal surgeon and medical director of HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake’s nationally accredited colorectal program, Reetz was home the same night.

There are only three of these accredited programs in Texas, which take a multidisciplinary approach to rectal cancer surgery as soon the patient is diagnosed.

“We do laparoscopic surgery by inflating air into the intestine. With a minimally invasive technique, we can remove early stages of cancer or benign large polyps that cannot be removed with colonoscopy,” Dr. Voloyiannis said. “Rather than doing an open surgery or major abdominal surgery. So this way, first of all, you save a big portion of the intestine, the surgery can be done as an outpatient, they can go home sooner, same day, and they can recover much faster.”

Colorectal cancer can be prevented

Symptoms can happen over the course of months or years:

  • Change in bowel habits
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Gradual weight loss
  • Painless bleeding