Harvard Health Letter

Fungus mimics cancer in American southwest

A rare fungal infection of the gastrointestinal tract that can mimic cancer and irritable bowel syndrome is puzzling doctors about how best to diagnose and treat it. The fungus, called Basidiobolus ranarum, is typically found in subtropical regions and emerging societies. But this spring, dozens of cases were diagnosed in the southwestern region of the United States. Symptoms for the infection are fairly non-specific, such as abdominal pain or a mass that can be felt from the outside in the midsection. Most patients recover with antifungal treatment or, if necessary, surgery.

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