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Arizona woman healthy again after large cancerous tumor removed in 10-hour multidisciplinary operation at St. Joseph’s Hospital

 2 minute read time

(PHOENIX, Ariz. – March 30, 2022) – An Arizona woman is back on her feet – and back in her kitchen – after doctors at Dignity Health Cancer Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center teamed up on a 10-hour multidisciplinary operation to remove a large cancerous tumor from her abdomen. 

Nine months after the operation, Rosa Aikin, 68, of Bullhead City, Ariz., was able to travel to San Diego and prepare 200 tamales, her traditional holiday treat, for her family. “This Christmas was very special,” Aikin says. “It was nice to see my mother again. I thought I wasn’t going to see her anymore. That was very emotional.

“Little by little, I feel more normal,” she says.

Aikin had a malignant colorectal tumor removed in 2015, but it recurred in the fall of 2020. She underwent the complex procedure on March 31, 2021.

The operation included the following specialties:

  • Colon and rectal surgical oncology
  • Urologic oncology
  • Gynecologic oncology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Plastic and reconstructive surgery
  • Enterostomal therapy
  • Radiation oncology

The procedure was conducted through Dignity Health’s Complex Pelvic and Abdominal Surgery (CAPS) service.

“The CAPS service is a strategic initiative that employs the expertise of numerous specialists to ensure a positive outcome for patients like Rosa,” says Anathea Powell, MD, Aikin’s colorectal surgeon at Dignity Health Cancer Institute at St. Joseph’s. “This was a lengthy, complicated procedure that required expertise in multiple disciplines. We are all delighted with her progress.”

Aikin’s tumor was lodged against her sciatic nerve, requiring delicate surgery to safely remove it. “If it had gone wrong, she could have lost the use of her leg,” says Rick Aikin, her husband. 

“We were under duress when we were there because of what we were there for, but they could not have been more helpful,” Rick says. “Everyone we dealt with was very professional, very caring.”

Aikin was in the hospital for nearly two weeks after the operation. Since returning home, she has consulted a radiation oncologist at the Dignity Health Cancer Institute at St. Joseph’s via telemedicine and visits an oncologist in Bullhead City for quarterly scans and blood work.

Thanks to telemedicine, the Aikins don’t have to make the nearly four-hour drive from Bullhead City to St. Joseph’s for follow-ups. The retired couple has been gradually resuming normal activities but have been cautious during COVID-19 surges in Arizona. 

“I’ve been very sick,” Aikin says. “I don’t want to get sick again.”

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Publish date: 

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Media Contact

Carmelle Malkovich, External Communications Director

p: (602) 406-3319

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