This week in health, science and tech: 7.4 billion cures for cancer, Africa’s floating hospital, and the inspiring story of Adam Frontera. This weekend, catch up on what you might have missed from The Pulse and beyond.
I was recently told a story about a young patient in the U.K. He was a teenager when he was diagnosed with malignant melanoma – a teenager with deadly skin cancer. Multiple rounds of chemotherapy followed by targeted drug treatments yielded no results. He developed metastases to his brain and tumors grew in his lung and chest. Breathing was difficult. He was given weeks to live.
We’ve heard the tragic stories too often. Everyone knows someone. We know how it ends.
Or do we?
Dr. Leo Cheng, a maxillofacial reconstructive surgeon with the UK National Health Service, spends two to three weeks of his leave each year volunteering on board the Africa Mercy, the world’s largest charitable floating hospital run by international charity Mercy Ships. His patients suffer from large benign tumours on the face and neck. Many of them have never received any kind of healthcare before they meet him.
Eight-year-old Adam Frontera is full of energy and an irrepressible passion for life. Today he’s into the musical Hamilton, tomorrow it will be something else. He is always looking to try something new.
But in the summer of 2012, aged four, Adam began to experience extreme pain when he walked. He woke up at night in agony because of the pain in his stomach and bones.
On a Thursday afternoon that October, Adam was diagnosed with stage IV high-risk neuroblastoma.
Patti Beyer is a positive person by nature. But the 64-year-old retired educator was concerned after she requested, and received, a breast ultrasound-screening exam. After years of normal mammograms her doctor said she needed to follow up with a needle biopsy. Something was wrong.
She got the dreaded news a few days later while waiting for her luggage in the Washington D.C. airport: it was invasive breast cancer.
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