Amid the Covid-19 pandemic which has upended lives and brought innumerable challenges across fields, a 56-year-old businessman was recently treated for a rare triple cancer at a city hospital. A mole on his head led doctors to discover the cancers in the Rajasthan resident’s body.
“In December 2020, a tiny mole appeared on my head. On my family’s insistence, I approached the local doctor who suggested I go for a biopsy test,” said the patient, who did not want to reveal his identity.
While the biopsy revealed that the patient had squamous carcinoma (skin cancer) of the scalp, investigations revealed that he had two more cancers. “A detailed investigation showed I had prostate cancer and colon cancer, too,” he said.
Unlike many patients who got stuck in lockdown, he was lucky to reach Mumbai in February for treatment at Fortis Hospital before the second wave began.
Doctors at Fortis Hospital said the case was complex as each malignancy had its own set of problems limiting the success matrix.
“This is the first case described in the literature with a combination of scalp, prostate and colon cancers as synchronous (simultaneous) malignancy. Each cancer had an associated dilemma. We had to take a holistic view of the multiple problems and then zero down on a treatment mechanism involving hormonal therapy, surgery and chemotherapy,” said Dr Hitesh R Singhavi, consultant, head and neck.
The patient was first given hormonal therapy for prostate cancer. Then doctors surgically removed and repaired the lesions in the scalp along with the removal of the affected part of the large intestine.
Dr Boman Dhabur, head of department, Medical Oncology, said, “The sequencing of treatment of all the three malignancies was a challenge. The aggressiveness, the stage of cancer and type of therapy of the three cancers had to be kept in mind. We also had to consider minimum hospital exposure due to the pandemic. Fortunately, the colonic and scalp lesions were in the early stage and didn’t require further cancer therapy. The patient is only undergoing hormonal therapy for prostate cancer and requires follow up.” The patient returned home last week.