Healthy people and planet: Kenyan cancer patient gets a new lease of life

Longer, healthier, happier lives
08 March 2017
Cavadas and Mike
Dr Cavadas, who specialises in reconstructive surgery, has been working in collaboration with Manises Hospital1 in Valencia, Spain, since 2011. Through the Manises Hospital and the Pedro Cavadas Foundation, he has had the opportunity to work on 15 charitable surgeries through an initiative called Project Africa2.
One of the most moving cases Dr Cavadas worked on was of Mike Koech, a 35-year-old patient from Kenya who had a tumour at the base of his skull.
Mike's problem started in 2001 when a lump appeared on his face and grew uncontrollably. For 10 years Mike visited several hospitals in Kenya, as well as in India, seeking treatment. Specialists in Africa believed that the only way to operate on the tumour would be by removing half of Mike's face.
While Dr Cavadas was in Kenya he had heard of Mike through the Red Cross. He knew better options could be given to Mike to save his life and so through his foundation he arranged for Mike to be taken to Spain to undergo surgery at Manises Hospital.
Dr Cavadas said, “Mike has gone through complex surgery and reconstructive procedures to remove the large ameloblastoma which was impacting Mike's facial structure. I even reconstructed parts of his skull. He has since undergone four surgeries.

"I also made a pact with him that if in the worst case scenario we were not able to control the tumor, I would take care of his family", said the doctor, referring to the patient as a friend.

"We do not know if the tumor is cured but at least we know that we have extended his life. He will be under observation and in case the tumor reappears he will be surgically treated again.”

After the surgeries, Mike has had a daughter and named it after Dr Cavada’s late mother.
He added, "My mother would have cried a lot with this story. I think Mike’s daughter must be the only Carmen Koech in all of Kenya".

Read the press coverage from this story.

1 The Manises Hospital is a public private partnership run by Sanitas, Bupa in Spain
2 Project Africa, cooperation between the Cavadas Foundation and Manises Hospital, is one of the key Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability projects that the hospital runs to support the community.

Longer, healthier, happier lives
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