Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Tumor Strikes Back

Since I arrived in China, I can only use one word to described my experience. Painful. I have underestimated how my body would react to the cold weather. I have been coughing non-stop. Somehow, the coughing triggers the same nerves that connects to my butt and groin area. As a result I have been experiencing excruciating pain that paralyses my body, almost freezing me when I am walking. I don't know why it deteriorated so badly. Next is the food. People here don't believe in being vegetarian. Not a single food shop sells vegetarian food. So I had to make do what is available. There are are quite a number of food shops but most of them sell noodles and everyone shop have more or less the same menu! I did not go to the bigger restaurants nor did I find food courts at some of the shopping complexes that I visited.  The pain on my leg and butt is so bad that most of the time I stayed in the hotel leaving it to my sister and my wife to pack food for me. Walking is just too painful.

Yesterday, I met the hospital representative called Cathy at the hotel lobby. She took us to the hospital which is about 10 minutes walk away but I can only do it in about 30 minutes. She did the administration procedure for me, introduced me to my doctor in charge, Dr Yang and the team head, Professor Zhu. After that I went for my blood test. They took about 10 little tubes of blood from me. Wonder what test they are going to do? They could not schedule me for the CT scan immediately after the blood test, so I had to go back to the hospital the next day at 8.30am the scan. So this morning, I had to fast again for the CT scan as they have to inject the contrast into me. The CT examination room was full of people. Somehow, I got to jump queue and did the scan after about 20 minutes waiting time. I was told to come back to the hospital at 4pm today to review the results of the CT scan and the doctor would give me a treatment plan. As for the kidney tumor, the tumor has grown slightly from 11.3cm to 11.9cm. But the bad news is that they discovered a new tumor the size of over 4cm on top of the right lung. This is by far the biggest tumor which means the rest of the old nodes are more or less the same size. Dr Yang told me I would be experiencing pain about my right chest area because of this.

Due to the discovery of this new tumor, their original plan of treatment has also changed. Besides costs implications which would grow from RMB60K to between RMB100K - RMB150K if treatment of the new tumor is to be included. Also instead of just using HIFU treatment for my kidney tumor, the doctors are recommending I do transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TAE) because of the size of my tumor. What this means is that prior to the HIFU procedure, the doctors will inject TAE into the arteries that supply blood to my kidney tumor to block the blood supply. This would enhance the success of the HIFU treatment. I would then be monitored on the progress of my recovery and the side effects are fever and pain. If within the week, there are no further reaction, then the treatment for HIFU would start sometime next week.

I told my doctors of my pain problem and he suggested I do an other MRI to pin point the actual problem. He said my MRI scans that I brought along is not clear. The doctor told me that this is just to find out what causes the pain on my groin and butt and he has ruled out cancer as the cause. He reminded me that the main focus is on the kidney tumor. He then prescribed me some drugs for my coughing and pain management. He said he would like to know if the pain killer he prescribed to me did help to stop the pain or not.

Dr Yang and Professor Zhu suggested that they can also use HIFU treatment for my new tumor. However, in addition to the HIFU treatment, they would also want to do a pretreament procedure by injection some targeted radiotherapy directly to the tumor. This is just a suggestion and they will discuss it with me further after the outcome of the HIFU therapy on my kidney tumor. Dr yang also said it is not possible to treat the other tumors as there are too numerous and small all over my lungs. So they prefer to treat the biggest tumor. Anyway, its too early for me to decide now. I will wait for the outcome of the HIFU treatment on kidney tumor first.


  1. Hi ct, i am sorry to hear about the progression of disease, but we are hopeful that the treatment you are seeking there will be successful in treating the pain symptoms, if not killing the targeted tumours entirely. A couple of questions on HIFU that you may help to explain:
    1) why did you choose a hospital in chongqing for this treatment? If HIFU treatment is gaining wide acceptance, would it also not possible to find treatment facility closer to home for instance in singapore, which is considered by many as the more advanced medical hub in this part of the world?
    2) can HIFU treat ovarian tumour the size of 10cm? I knew of someone who has metastatic colorectal cancer with multiple legions in liver & lungs which may be too small for this type of treatment but they are also two big masses in her ovaries, about 10cm & 6cm on each. She is undergoing systematic chemo treatment for 6 months now with relatively good outcome - as in the disease has been stabilized (no further progression) with petscan showing low to mid metabolic activity in most of the tumours (in fact with some of the mets in lungs, liver & bones show absence of activity entirely). The ovarian masses do not pose any pain symptoms but the fact that they are stll there wIth no reduction in size after treatment albeit metabolic rate is low to mild & confined to a smaller area of the 2 masses now, she is keen to find out if the non-invasive hifu treatment can help to do the rest of the job. For she intends to stop chemo, for the body to recover, and does not wish to rely on chemo drugs to sustain (getting intolerable for her already). Understand that you may not have the answer, but just wonder if since you are there seeking hifu treatment, would you be kind enough to help bounce off this question to the medical team there for preliminary view? Many thanks!

  2. Beside HIFU may also look for cryo. Malaysia just have it in print court hospital. Fuda at Guangzhou have more experience on Cryo.

  3. Wrong spelling! Prince court ! May refer to strait time newspaper on 13 Dec under life & time page 2

    HIFU is invented by Prof Wu of ChongQing Medical University.

    China is not only the cheap factories of the world. It has leaped while we sleep.

    Shanghai chest and heart hospital 上海胸科医院 ranks no 2 in the world and no 1 in Asia for number of operations for Radio Frequency Catheter Ablation RFCA to treat Atrial Fibrilation, a heart rhythm condition.




    The above is the sky news TV report on Haifu海扶
    There is also animation on the Haifu machine. Please search YouTube and you can see how the machine works.