Sharing Mayo Clinic

Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

International Archive

January 17th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Dr. David Fleischer: Treating Esophageal Cancer in Kenya

By mayoclinic SMHNadmin

Dr. Fleischer at Tenwek HospitalEsophageal cancer is a challenging enough condition to treat at the best medical centers in the U.S. When the condition affects scores of people in a developing country in eastern Africa, the challenge is all the more demanding.

David Fleischer, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, and his colleagues, working in collaboration with Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Tenwek Hospital in Bomet, Kenya, were focused on a noble charge: to work with physicians and staff at Tenwek to intervene early when patients exhibit symptoms that could lead to esophageal cancer.

Dr. Fleischer notes that in many patients with esophageal cancer, the disease is so advanced by the time they present to a physician that only palliative care is possible. In many medical centers such as Tenwek, where several new cases of esophageal cancer are seen each week, the standard of care has been to outfit patients with a tube (stent) in the throat to assist with their swallowing. However, “swallowing a tube is not a cure,” he affirms. Read the rest of this entry »

View full entry · Comment on this

Tags: Africa, Arizona, Cancer, David Fleischer, David Fleischer MD, Dr Fleischer, esophageal cancer, esophagus, Kenya, radio frequency ablation, RFA, Tenwek Hospital

July 3rd, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Make Good Things Come From Bad

By mayoclinic SMHNadmin

During a hospitalization for pneumonia more than 20 years ago in her hometown of Barrington, IL, Ilse Hein received very frightening news: she had multiple myeloma. Initially she understood that she had a skin cancer (a melanoma), though she soon learned that multiple myeloma was actually very different: a complex cancer of the bone marrow.

Ilse & Dr. Greipp

Soon thereafter, encouraged by her local physician, Ms. Hein traveled the 5+ hours (drive time) to Rochester and spent a week at Mayo Clinic. There her diagnosis was confirmed and compounded by more bad news: the care team discovered that she also had an incurable non-alcoholic liver disease. One week later she underwent major surgery.

Subsequently Ms. Hein was assigned to Dr. Philip Greipp (hematologist) and Dr. Patrick Kamath (hepatologist). They became her guides during her cancer journey. Ms. Hein stated: “Both doctors explained the diseases in detail without instilling panic. They helped to ease my fear with their knowledge, empathy, kindness and concern, and openness. They worked together as a team, and that instills further trust and confidence. Receiving such excellent, custom tailored care and attention always makes me feel like I won the lottery.” Read the rest of this entry »

View full entry · Comment on this

Tags: Breast Cancer, Cancer, Dr. Patrick Kamath, Dr. Philip Greipp, Hematology, Hepatology, Ilse Hein, Matthew Clark PhD, multiple myeloma, non-alcoholic liver disease, Oncology

January 17th, 2013 · 1 Comment

Thoroughness is credited by Canadian for early Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

By makalajohnson Makala Johnson

John HendersonJohn Henderson of British Columbia is a details man: a Chartered Accountant for whom accuracy and thoroughness are paramount. So while health care is excellent in Canada, about 15 years ago Mr. Henderson, now 62, decided his routine check-ups were not as thorough as they should be for a man approaching 50.

"Every time I thought about where I could go to get a really excellent and detailed complete physical, the name 'Mayo Clinic' kept coming to mind," Mr. Henderson recalls. "I don't know why... I'd never met anyone who went there. I must have read about it as a top institution in the U.S." Read the rest of this entry »

View full entry · Comment on this

Tags: canada, early diagnosis, Executive Health Program, John Henderson, Matthew Clark PhD, Prostate Cancer

April 30th, 2012 · Leave a Comment

Mayo International Health Program Testimony – Experience in Bangladesh

By makalajohnson Makala Johnson

Spouses, Drs. Niles and Rachel Batdorf, traveled to Malumghat, Bangladesh to broaden their education and to meet, learn, and work with people from another culture.  This was made possible through the Mayo International Health Program within the Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education.  In this video, they share their experience and how they have become more well-rounded physicians.

View full entry · Comment on this

Tags: Global Health, International Health Elective, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Mayo International Health Program, Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Medical Care to Underserved Population, Resource-Limited Setting

December 22nd, 2011 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Graduate Student – Trip to Ecuador

By makalajohnson Makala Johnson

Amy Saleh, M.D. went to Ecuador as part of the Mayo International Heath Program within the Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education. She recounts this surgical trip experience, where they focused on children with cleft lip and cleft palate.

View full entry · Comment on this

Tags: Amy Saleh, cleft lip, cleft palate, Ecuador, Education, Graduate, health program, international, mayo, student, Surgery

December 19th, 2011 · Leave a Comment

Mayo International Health Program Testimony – Experience in Kenya

By makalajohnson Makala Johnson

Mira Keddis, M.D. was originally from Egypt, went to Texas for her medical school training, and came to Mayo Clinic for her residency training. Then, the Mayo International Health Program (MIHP) offered her the opportunity to travel abroad as part of her education. In the below video, she relays lessons learned from her trip to Kenya.


View full entry · Comment on this

Tags: Africa, Education, fellowship, Graduate, health program, international, Kenya, Matthew Clark PhD, medical, MIHP, Mira Keddis, residency, school, student

December 13th, 2011 · Leave a Comment

Mayo Graduate Student – Trip to West Africa

By makalajohnson Makala Johnson

Jason O'Grady, M.D. went to West Africa as part of the Mayo International Heath Program within the Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education. He recounts his experience in this video.


View full entry · Comment on this

Tags: Education, fellowship, graduate school, health program, international, Jason O'Grady, Matthew Clark PhD, MIHP, residency, student, Togo, West Africa

November 14th, 2011 · Leave a Comment

International Praise for Mayo Clinic’s Nicotine Dependence Center

By makalajohnson Makala Johnson

Meet Mr. Hussein Hatata, lung cancer survivor, who praises the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependency Center for helping him to quit smoking.

Related Diseases
Related Departments

View full entry · Comment on this

Tags: Hussein Hatata, international, Lung Cancer, Nicotine Dependence Center, quit, Smoking

June 7th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Early Detection Key for Treatment of Barrett’s Esophagus

By susanashephard Susana Shephard

Benny Andújar has traveled a long way from his native Utuado, Puerto Rico, to tell an important story.

“Cancer doesn’t always send a warning,” Andújar says about his experience with a precancerous condition called Barrett’s esophagus.  A routine endoscopy gave him the information he needed to unmask esophageal cancer before it developed.  “When they did the endoscopy they discovered I had Barrett’s esophagus,” recalls Andújar.  His doctor referred him to gastroenterologists at Mayo Clinic.

Andújar, who retired from detective work with a New York police department and now lives in Orange Park, Florida, visited Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, for state-of-the art treatment to correct the lining of his esophagus before cancer cells began to propagate.

Barrett’s esophagus is a precancerous condition that affects the lining of the esophagus. Long-term exposure to stomach acid can change the color and composition of the walls of the esophagus. Barrett’s esophagus is often diagnosed in people who have chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), although only a small percentage of people with GERD will develop Barrett’s esophagus.

Andujar and his doctors chose treatment with radiofrequency ablation. In this minimally-invasive procedure, doctors use an endoscopic tool through the mouth and lower it into the esophagus to deliver radiofrequency energy to the affected area. The outpatient procedure takes about an hour and the patient can return home the same day.

“I consider the procedure to be comfortable for the patient,” Andujar says. “I never had any complications from it.” Now, every six months, Andujar comes back to Mayo Clinic to monitor his esophagus through an endoscopic biopsy. “The last three have been negative, which indicates my esophagus was restored to its original condition before I had a problem.”

“My impression is that I had the best of luck to become a patient at Mayo Clinic,” Andujar concludes. “If we wait to have symptoms, it’s already too late. The consequences are much worse than if you find out the problem on time, as I had the opportunity.”

Related Diseases
Related Departments

View full entry · Comment on this

Tags: Barrett's esophagus, radiofrequency ablation

February 24th, 2011 · Leave a Comment

A first of its kind surgery

By makalajohnson Makala Johnson

Janis Ollson and her family.

Three years ago, when Janis Ollson, now 32, was pregnant with her second child, she experienced agonizing back pain. But, unlike the back pain she had during her first pregnancy with daughter Braxtyn, this time the pain would not subside.

“I was desperate for relief,” says Ollson. Five months into the pregnancy she could no longer work at her office job. At seven months, she could no longer drive.

Ollson, who lives in Balmoral, Manitoba, Canada, eventually went to the hospital and refused to leave until she was admitted. “I knew something was wrong,” she says. “That degree of pain could not possibly be normal, even during pregnancy.”

Listening to her instincts and refusing to take no for an answer helped save Ollson’s life — along with a groundbreaking surgery at Mayo Clinic.

Read the rest of this entry »

View full entry · Comment on this

Tags: bone cancer, canada, Cancer, Janis Ollson, Matthew Clark PhD, Michael Yaszemski, Surgery