A 2-year-old child from Uzbekistan, suffering from neuroblastoma, a rare cancer form, got a fresh lease of life on New Year’s Eve after doctors at Aakash Healthcare, Dwarka successfully performed a critical life-saving surgery.
The 16 cmx13 cm cancerous tumour was located inside the left ribcage and was occupying all the left of the chest, pushing the heart to the right, and left lung was fully compressed.
The cancer made it difficult for the toddler to breathe and affected his nutritional status, underweight for his age at 11 kg. Besides, he required blood transfusion every month and was becoming irritable with each passing day. The toddler, only child to his parents, underwent three sessions of chemotherapy in Uzbekistan, but his cancer continued to grow. He came to India with his parents on 27th December and underwent a 3-hour-long, high-risk surgery on the New Year’s Eve.
“In technical terms, this was a stage 1 cancer. We successfully removed it. This was very high-risk surgery with high chances of haemorrhage and death due to the delicate location of the tumour. It was compressing critical organs and the spinal cord, and was also adjacent to the nerves and blood vessels in that area, increasing the chance of potentially-fatal blood loss and neurological problems. A multidisciplinary team comprising the radiologist, medical oncologist, paediatrician, paediatric oncologist, anaesthetist, and surgical oncologist was formed to assess the case. We briefed the parents about the high stakes. They agreed to take the risk,” says Dr Arun Giri, Director, Department of Surgical Oncology, Aakash Healthcare, Dwarka.
Neuroblastoma is rare cancer caused by immature neural cells that become tumours and affects 7-8 / million children globally. The majority of them develop it in their abdomen and only around 2 per million children develop it in the chest.
Doctors at Aakash Healthcare are happy that the child tolerated the surgery well and can lead a healthy life with very little the chance of a relapse or associated health issues normally seen in a recovered child cancer patient.
“Rehabilitating a child cancer patient after prolonged chemotherapy is a challenge – such children will need long-term assistance in terms of follow up visits to the paediatrician. Side effects such as cardiac and kidney problems, or developing a second cancer are quite likely. That hopefully will not be the case with this child – he will grow up like any other child to lead a normal life minus any restrictions,” says Dr Arun Giri, Director, Department of Surgical Oncology, Aakash Healthcare, Dwarka.
The parents of the child said, “We had lost all hopes when the chemotherapy failed to check the growth of the tumor back in Uzbekistan. We have heard about the wonderful doctors and the advanced medical treatments available in India. Despite COVID-19 related hardships, we came here. And we are not diappointed. We are grateful to the doctors of Aakash Healthcare to bring back our child to life, sacrificing their personal lives on the New Year’s Eve. This is the best New Year gift we could have ever had.”
“Aakash Healthcare is proud to have reliable and experts hands who are dedicated to the well-being of its patients. Operating on a child is always more challenging as the space to use the surgical instruments is less and density of nerves and blood vessels are more than an adult. This particular case highlights how the doctors surpassed their own expectations and handled a very critical high-risk surgery with utmost care. I would like to congratulate the team for giving the child a new life as we welcomed the New Year”, said Dr Aashish Chaudhry, Managing Director, Aakash Healthcare.