Doctor gives colorectal cancer survivor strength for treatment

Even though Robin Odle knew she needed a colonoscopy when she turned 50, she put it off. “I’d been traumatized by a prior GI test, so I didn’t do it out of fear, and I was extremely apprehensive about the prep,” she says. Ten years later – on March 28, 2016 – Robin started experiencing intermittent cramping and bleeding. A gastroenterologist in Memphis, Tennessee performed a colonoscopy and found a polyp too large to remove. The biopsy didn’t show cancer, but the doctor said they still needed to remove that polyp. “The gastroenterologist referred me to a surgeon who said he’d take out a great portion of the colon, that it was a ‘major, major surgery,’ and I could die,” she says. “I left angry and upset.” Search for advanced surgical techniques leads to MD Anderson Robin began searching online for doctors who could perform a less invasive procedure. She came across MD Anderson’s Gottumukkala Raju, M.D., and was impressed by his expertise with endoscopic mucosal resections, a delicate technique that removed complex polyps with an endoscope. She called MD Anderson and set up an appointment. “During my initial visit with Dr. Raju, I told him that if he couldn’t do the endoscopic mucosal resection, then I wouldn’t go forward with treatment, that I would accept death,” she says. On Oct. 20, Dr. Raju performed a second colonoscopy and immediately diagnosed Robin with colorectal cancer. Her only treatment option was a partial colectomy, the surgical removal of part of her colon. “I was so certain that I couldn’t have a major surgery because it was going to debilitate me,...