Life

By Taniya Dutta


An Indian couple are desperately hoping for a miracle to save their one-year-old son whose face has been engulfed by a massive cancerous tumour – which grew from just a pea-sized lump.

Rohan Paul from Noyabil in Assam in northeast India, has had his mouth, nose and left eye’s vision damaged by the mass, which grew from inside his left nostril, also leaving the toddler with breathing issues and in acute pain.

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Rohan is undergoing treatment at the country’s premier hospital, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, but doctors say surgery is not possible immediately because of the massive tumour’s size.

The tot is now being given medication so the tumour shrinks before doctors can perform a surgery.

His parents, father Rupak Paul, 39, and mother Kakoli Paul, 25, only noticed a tiny pea-sized lump inside his left nostril after he hurt his nose falling from the bed aged five months and was prescribed nasal drops.

Dr Rachna Seth, Additional Professor at the hospital’s Department of Paediatrics (AIIMS), who is handling Rohan’s case, said: “It is a rare form of cancer called Ewing Sarcoma.

“When the patient had come to us, his tumour was very aggressive. After series of multiple investigations, we immediately started chemotherapy.

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“As of now, a surgery cannot be performed because the tumour is massive. We are consulting with ENT specialists to know the extent of the condition.

“We are waiting for the tumour to shrunken down, which has started with the medication.”

Rohan’s parents didn’t think the lump in his nostril was anything to worry about initially but took Rohan to the doctor.

However sensing the severity of the ‘lump’, medics performed a series of medical investigations including MRI, CT Scans, and X-rays.

The worried parents then took their only child to an advanced private hospital in Shillong in neighbouring state Meghalaya where doctors informed that Rohan has a rare kind of malignant tumour and needs to be taken to specialist hospital.

Rupak, who makes £55 a month as a cab driver, said: “He was sleeping on the bed and suddenly fell.

“His nose had swelled up and started bleeding. Rohan’s aunt was in the room but she was busy with some work. She ran to rescue him.

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“We took Rohan to the nearby medical facility Barjalenga Hospital.

“As he was bleeding, doctors prescribed a nose drop and asked us to continue the liquid drops till the bleeding is stopped.

“Within few days bleeding stopped and he was again back to his playful life.

“But after three months, we noticed a tiny pea-size tumor inside his left nose.

“The tumour started growing slowly and troubled my son. He couldn’t breath properly. It was very painful to see his condition.

“We took him to several government and private hospital in hope of a better treatment.”

The infant was brought to Guwahati Medical Cancer Hospital, where he was given three rounds of chemo to reduce the size of the tumour.

While it helped initially, the tumour started growing again soon after three months forcing the parents to see doctors at AIIMS, the government-run hospital that offers free health treatment for poor.

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Rupak said: “He was admitted to the hospital for about one and a half month and while his condition had improved he had developed diarrhea due to which his condition got worsen. He was admitted to ICU where after three months the tumour started growing faster.

“The doctors at the hospital recommended us to take him to AIIMS in New Delhi. All our hopes are pinned at the doctors in the hospital. We are worried for our child. We just want our son to get well soon.

“AIIMS is such a prestigious healthcare institution in the country. Here, doctors are very cooperative and supportive, treating my child very well.”

Doctors, however, are not attributing his cancer to his fall from the bed.

Dr Seth said: “As informed by Rohan’s father, he started developing health problem when he was eight months old. He was taken to multiple hospitals Shillong, Assam and Guhawati.

“We have done the biopsy and waiting the result. We are not attributing anything to the fall from the bed.

“It is a life threatening condition but often surgeries are successful.

“Generally, disfigurement of face is rare but if not treated on time, the tumor can spread to entire face and child can also die.”

“The only thing is these children should be diagnosed early, given right kind of treatment. As in the advanced stage, it becomes difficult to treat.

“These children should be treated with proper care throughout their lives.

“They need to be on medication after the operation and continuous follow-ups with the doctors as there is always a possibility of a relapse.”