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El Camino Hospital and Me

Ann’s Story: Uterine Cancer

After working for many years in the medical field, Ann (whose name has been changed for privacy reasons) was well aware of the signs of a gynecological problem. So when she began spotting blood unexpectedly, she immediately went to her doctor for an examination. An ultrasound and biopsy revealed that Ann had cancerous growths in her uterus.

Ann would need a hysterectomy. She was referred to Albert Pisani, MD, of Palo Alto Medical Foundation, an expert in gynecologic cancers and minimally invasive robotic surgery.

"I knew a lot about Dr. Pisani and his expertise in this area," recalls Ann. "He is not only skilled at gynecologic surgery, he is also highly skilled in the use of the robotic system. I felt very safe in his hands."

Unfortunately, Ann had an additional complication that would make her surgery more risky: She’d had a heart attack just six weeks earlier, so she'd had a stent put in and was on blood-thinning medication. Dr. Pisani and anesthesiologist Charles Wang, MD, would need to be extremely cautious given Ann's heart condition.

Despite the complexity of the surgery, Ann had complete faith in her doctors. 

"I felt I would get the best possible outcome for a bad situation," says Ann. "I trusted my doctors completely."

And Ann’s outcome turned out to be better than expected. Ann's surgery, in early 2012, required just one night in the hospital, and she needed only non-prescription pain medication once she returned home. Because Dr. Pisani used the least invasive approach in Ann's surgery, her incision was very small.

After surgery, Ann recovered at home, followed up with scans later in the year and maintained a healthy lifestyle. Both heart disease and cancer run in Ann's family, so she knows that she will need to keep a close eye on her health going forward.

But Ann is very happy with her outcome, and she says she is glad that she had access to such excellent care at El Camino Hospital. 

Thank you, Ann, for sharing your story with us!