"Overcoming a Family History of Cancer"

Patient: Scott Tatum

The warning signs of cancer are not something to be taken lightly but some signs don’t show up until it is too late. That is why it is also important to get screened regularly, especially if you have a family history of cancer. By any account Scott Tatum’s family had been impacted by cancer far more than most. His father died of cancer, his brother died of cancer and his mother had colon cancer when Tatum was diagnosed with cancer as well. Thanks to a quick thinking St. Dominic’s doctor and a surgical robot, Tatum was soon back running his machine shop, cancer free.

How It All Began

Scott Tatum took his mother to Dr. Steven Patterson for a checkup. Dr. Patterson knew of the family history with cancer and asked Tatum if he had ever had a colonoscopy. After Tatum answered “No,” Dr. Patterson told him, “We’ll you’re getting one now.”

The Turning Point

The results came back positive for colon cancer.

“To hear that I had colon cancer is not why I was there,” Tatum said.

“I talked with Scott and recommended we proceed with robotic surgery,” Dr. Patterson said.

The technique involves a special piece of equipment known as a da Vinci surgical robot, St. Dominic’s is one of only a few hospitals in the state to offer this technology. The surgeon sits at a console and manipulates the camera and tiny tools of the robot. Most surgeries are completed through two or three small incisions of only about an inch long each. The incisions are much smaller than those associated with traditional surgeries and potentially cause less trauma to the body, less blood loss, less scarring and a faster recovery.

“Within five days of finding cancer they went in there and got it all out,” Tatum said.

Recovery and Life After

Scott Tatum and his brother own a machine shop where they manufacture custom parts. Tatum could not afford much downtime if he wanted to keep things running smoothly. Luckily the surgery went as planned and Tatum was soon back on the job.

“I was scared to death but there was something about St. Dominic’s that made me feel like everything was going to be okay,” Tatum said.

  I was scared to death but there was something about St. Dominic’s that made me feel like everything was going to be okay,       



More About Scott:

Who was your primary doctor during treatment at St. Dominic's Hospital?
Steven Patterson, M.D.