Every week we receive life-changing letters and emails from patients that have used our expert medical second opinion benefit. This testimonial letter we received was so heartwarming, we thought it best to let this patient share his journey in his own words.
"I am a cancer patient, a patient with advanced nasopharyngeal cancer."
It is not an exaggeration to say that people are afraid of cancer in modern times. In fact, we all know at least one person around us who is suffering from cancer, and we also know how many families have lost their happiness because of cancer. But nowadays, with the rapid development of medical science, is cancer really meaning death, and there is nothing we can do about it? Today, I would like to share my story with you.
Initial Diagnosis and Treatment of Advanced Nasopharyngeal Cancer
I am 55 years old and have a happy family with a stable financial income and a son who is already in college. But the smooth life started to be disrupted about six years ago.
In May 2014, I went to the hospital for a headache and throat discomfort. After examination in a famous ENT hospital in my country, I was diagnosed with undifferentiated carcinoma of the nasopharynx, which is a highly malignant type of cancer. After an MRI, it was determined that the tumor had already spread into the lymph nodes and the chance of surgical cure had been lost.
I followed the optimal radiotherapy regimen developed by the doctors at this hospital. After several months of chemotherapy and targeted therapy, my headache symptoms were under control, and in October 2014, I started radical radiation therapy. A total of 33 radiation treatments were administered over the course of a month. The adverse effect of planned concurrent chemotherapy was so severe that I had to stop after one session. After the radical radiotherapy, my lesions shrank significantly, so I entered the follow-up observation phase.
Cancer Recurrence and Failed Surgery
Given my stage and type of pathology, recurrence seemed to be a matter of time. My recurrence occurred three years later.
At a follow-up visit in 2017, the MRI showed that the previously enhanced foci from radiation therapy were starting to get larger, and subsequent pathology confirmed the recurrence. Subsequent imaging showed continued tumor enlargement and signs of necrosis and infection.
Unwilling to be slowly eroded by the tumor, I persisted until the end of 2018 when my family and I contacted another ENT hospital in my country and went ahead with a bold and radical surgery. Despite the surgery, the lesion was unable to be removed and a series of complications arose. I lost consciousness on the left side of my face, my tongue was numb, I could not feel the taste of food or hot or cold, my mouth was dry, and what was more unbearable was that my mouth could not be opened wide, and my chin was crooked to the left and when I opened wide my speech was affected.
I contacted many doctors, none of which dared to give me further radiotherapy, and since my body could not bear the side effects of chemotherapy, immunotherapy became the only option. After three courses of treatment, the lump still increased in size and I was very sick, sick to the point where I was vomiting blood clots.
MORE Health Medical Second Opinion for Nasopharyngeal Cancer
In September 2019, a friend suggested this patient and his family contact MORE Health.
Though he had been treated at leading hospitals, our MORE Health Case Managers did their job to provide the highest level of health outcome. They uploaded the patient’s files into our proprietary digital platform, reviewed the records and selected a MORE Health Physician Specialist, a world’s leading expert in Head and Neck Oncology and since this case needed a multi-disciplinary approach, we also included a medical expert in radiation and proton therapy. At the patient’s request, he and his family wanted to travel to have treatment by the specialists.
The patient’s trip was booked, appointments were scheduled, and he arrived just before the COVID-19 pandemic started. Our medical concierge team made the experience as comfortable as possible providing all accommodations, meals and even sightseeing and entertainment.
I began the new recommended treatment process and my family and I were pleased that I was not having the unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy as I experienced in my own country. And, although I was in a foreign country and none of the doctors and nurses around me knew my native language, the MORE Health medical manager accompanied me and relayed any discomfort and requests to the doctors and nurses in a timely manner, which even included a minor allergic reaction after a certain infusion. When I came back from the hospital, the MORE Health medical manager would explain the doctor's advice to me in detail and I was very impressed.
Cancer Treatment Leads to Remission During COVID-19 Pandemic
After a few sessions, I quickly experienced the improvement, most notably a return of sensation to the left side of my face and tongue. The numbness was gone, and improvement in my mood and appetite followed.
While I was in the U.S. the news reports from my home country were not good in regard to the pandemic, but the days went by quickly, my treatment ended successfully, and it was time to return home. Shortly after my return I watched how the COVID-19 epidemic took a turn for the worse in the U.S. and the timing of my cancer journey, was what I call a perfect epidemic avoidance roundtrip.
From the first day I set foot in the United States, every day in the U.S. was organized so efficiently by MORE Health. My family exclaimed that we chose the right treatment at the right time and the Physician Specialists gave me more hope and opportunity in a desperate situation.
About MORE Health
MORE Health gives you peace and mind and confidence to make the best decisions for you and your family when facing a serious life-changing illness through our virtual medical second opinion benefit. Our medical second opinion service is 100% virtual and completely online, but in some cases, a patient wants or needs to go beyond our remote service to travel to an academic medical center for treatment, as in this patient’s case. Service is available as an employee benefit or on an individual basis. For more information, please contact us or to initiate a second medical opinion, click here.