After microwave ablation surgery…

"Lllueva, truene o relampaguee, este año llegamos a los 3 millones de viviendas": Maduro

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A month af­ter she suc­cess­ful­ly un­der­went us­ing mi­crowave ab­la­tion surgery to kill four tu­mours in her liv­er, can­cer sur­vivor Ami­ra Ba­boolal is now plead­ing with Health Min­is­ter Ter­rence Deyals­ingh to make the rev­o­lu­tion­ary tech­nol­o­gy avail­able in pub­lic hos­pi­tals.

Ba­boolal, 61, of Mount Lam­bert, said she was a liv­ing tes­ti­mo­ny of the suc­cess of mi­crowave ab­la­tion (MWA) which de­stroyed liv­er tu­mours us­ing heat gen­er­at­ed by mi­crowave en­er­gy.

Look­ing sprite­ly and hap­py, the 61-year-old grand­moth­er of five, said she was hop­ing to in­spire can­cer pa­tients so they will not lose hope. Even as Dr Peng Ewe and Pro­fes­sor Shamir Cawich pre­pared an­oth­er pa­tient Wil­son Ra­hay for the same surgery, a thank­ful Ba­boolal said she was re­lieved to know that the can­cer was now in re­mis­sion.

“I want to call on the Min­is­ter to look in­to uti­liz­ing this type of tech­nol­o­gy in the pub­lic hos­pi­tals so that oth­ers can ben­e­fit,” she added. Hav­ing been di­ag­nosed with colon can­cer on Au­gust 5, 2017, Ba­boolal said she un­der­went emer­gency surgery to re­move a 12-inch tu­mour from her colon but a year lat­er can­cer showed up in her liv­er.

The at­tack was ag­gres­sive. The first CT scan showed two tu­mours and a sub­se­quent MRI showed two more.

With the tu­mours near crit­i­cal parts of her liv­er, Ba­boolal pre­pared her­self for death. How­ev­er, doc­tors at the Port-of-Spain Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal rec­om­mend­ed her for mi­crowave ab­la­tion. Pro­fes­sor Cawich and his team met with Ba­boolal and of­fered to do the mi­crowave ab­la­tion free of charge.

It would be the first time that the tech­nol­o­gy, made avail­able through Medtron­ic, would be used in T&T and the Eng­lish Speak­ing Caribbean.

Af­ter eight hours of surgery, Ba­boolal said she was dis­charged and al­lowed to re­cu­per­ate at home.

The surgery gave her a 50 per cent chance of sur­viv­ing longer than 10 years. Cawich said al­though can­cer could show it­self again, for now, there were no signs of the dis­ease.

Cawich said Ba­boolal’s re­cov­ery was ex­cit­ing and grat­i­fy­ing.

“It is ex­cit­ing be­cause some­one who nor­mal­ly has surgery so big would not be in this con­di­tion now. They would have been quite weak and not 100 per cent func­tion­al­i­ty. She is look­ing and feel­ing great!” Cawich said. He ex­pressed grat­i­tude to Medtron­ic for de­vot­ing time and re­sources in or­ga­niz­ing the work­shop.

He not­ed that T&T has the largest vol­ume of liv­er re­sec­tions across the Eng­lish speak­ing Caribbean.

“We have over 60 liv­er re­sec­tions a year and two-thirds of that would come in too late so they would not be can­di­dates for surgery.

Mi­crowave ab­la­tion of­fers a new tool to treat 50 per cent of those who come to us. We want to help as many peo­ple in T&T and the rest of the Caribbean. We hope the pub­lic hos­pi­tals could ac­quire the equip­ment and make the tech­nol­o­gy avail­able in the pub­lic sys­tem.

“Once can­cer has spread out­side of the colon to the liv­er, the sur­vi­val rate, if you do noth­ing, is about a one per cent chance that you will live up to five years. With the best chemoth­er­a­py you have avail­able, the chance is any­where be­tween five and eight per cent, maybe up to a 10 per cent chance that you will live to five years. With mi­crowave ab­la­tion, you can in­crease that to any­where be­tween a 30-40 per cent chance so you can see there it is chalk and cheese. Ob­vi­ous­ly, the best is still surgery. Surgery will give you up to 45 per cent, five-year sur­vi­val and a chance to sur­vive up to 10 years, which is about 20 per cent. But it again comes at the risk of sig­nif­i­cant com­pli­ca­tions,” Cawich said.

He said they were hop­ing to put sys­tems in place for this to be done.

Con­tact­ed for com­ment Deyals­ingh said, “These are se­ri­ous pol­i­cy de­ci­sions that have to be made in con­sul­ta­tion with stake­hold­ers which in­clude the Re­gion­al Health Au­thor­i­ty and the Chief Med­ical Of­fi­cer.”