Tue, Nov 06, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Father, son have tumors removed

GENETIC BURDEN:No sooner had the son begun to walk independently after a long rehabilitation, when his father was diagnosed with the same spinal tumors

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff writer, with CNA

A father and son from Greater Tainan developed hemagioblastoma, tumors of the central nervous system, but were able to undergo treatment in time to avoid lifelong paralysis.

The son, surnamed Wu (吳), went directly to Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital’s Dalin Branch vice superintendent Chen Jin-cherng (陳金城), after his requests for medical treatment six years ago for intramedullary tumors that caused his limbs to gradually wither were repeatedly turned down by doctors due to the high risk involved in removing such tumors.

The hospital said that although Chen was able to surgically remove the tumors, Wu was unable to regain full mobility because his spinal nerves had been severely damaged by the tumors.

Despite his slim chance of full recovery, Wu remains optimistic and has received rehabilitation on a daily basis for the past few years.

He is now capable of walking independently, although only when holding onto objects.

While the family reveled in the progress Wu had made, Wu’s father, who had ascribed his symptoms of numbness, weakness of limbs and difficulty balancing to a possible bone spur, was also diagnosed with hemagioblastoma after he suffered a fall and sought medical treatment.

Removing hemagioblastomas is often risky because the tumors are prone to ruptures and bleeding, Chen said, adding that was particularly the case for the tumors Wu’s father had, which were located in a tricky spot between his medulla and the cervical spinal cord.

“Doctors performing such a delicate operation must be careful to avoid massive bleeding and permanent damage to the spinal cord,” Chen added.

Wu’s father showed no sign of fear when he was informed of the diagnosis and the need for him to undergo surgery, the hospital said, adding that Wu’s father said he felt luckier than his son because his tumors were detected and removed soon enough to avoid paralysis.

The hospital said while Wu’s father, who has regained full mobility after the surgery, had passed down the genetic condition to his son, the pair could deepen their father-child bond after having undergone the hardship of treatment and rehabilitation together.

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