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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


Good Outcome of Early-Stage Rectal Cancer Diagnosed During Pregnancy

Unusual clinical course, Challenging differential diagnosis

Waleed H. Alkhamis, Tammam Naama, Maria A. Arafah, Sahar H. Abdulghani

Saudi Arabia Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine, King Saud University, King Saud University Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e925673

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.925673

Available online: 2020-07-22

Published: 2020-08-31


BACKGROUND: Colorectal cancer (CRC) in pregnancy is very rare. It is often associated with poor prognosis which is contributed to delayed diagnosis due to the overlapping symptoms of CRC and pregnancy. The purpose of this case report is to highlight the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of CRC in a young pregnant patient with good maternal and fetal outcomes.
CASE REPORT: A 30-year-old patient, gravida 3, presented at 9-week gestation with a history of sudden painless, fresh, rectal bleeding with no aggravating factors such as constipation or hemorrhoids. Sigmoidoscopy showed a small fungating, intramural mass, 40 cm from the anal verge, which easily bled upon touch. The rest of the colon up to the terminal ilium was normal. The mass was completely removed during the sigmoidoscopy procedure, and the histopathological diagnosis was a tubulovillous adenoma with focal intramucosal carcinoma. After the polypectomy procedure, the patient had an uneventful, bleeding-free pregnancy and delivered a healthy baby at full term. The sigmoidoscopy procedure was considered to be both diagnostic and therapeutic since the entire mass was completely removed.
CONCLUSIONS: Early diagnosis and intervention are critical in improving the overall outcome of CRC in pregnancy and requires a high index of clinical suspicion. Taking a detailed patient history, exercising attentiveness, and conducting thorough investigations of all symptomatic pregnant women are recommended. Treatment options should involve a multidisciplinary team with consideration to the patient’s own choices.

Keywords: Colorectal Neoplasms, Pregnancy Outcome, Sigmoidoscopy