Seven-year-old Shan Sultan’s family and friends in Lahore thought they would lose him to liver cancer, but he battled on and beat it back after undergoing a liver transplant at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital.
The donor was his father Sultan Baqar, who works in the radiology department in a government hospital in Lahore.
“The child was admitted with pneumonia and infection. After he recovered, we recommended chemotherapy to reduce the size of the tumour before the affected part of the liver can be removed,” said Dr Anupam Sibbal, group medical director and senior paediatric gastroenterologists, Apollo Hospitals.
Eight rounds of chemotherapy, however, could not shrink the tumour. He underwent a liver transplant.
“The cancer had spread to his chest and diaphragm and it was very difficult to remove the entire thing. There was a risk of relapse if any of the cancerous cells were left behind. Timing the chemotherapy was also a challenge,” said Dr Subhash Gupta, chief of Centre for Liver and Biliary Sciences, Apollo Hospitals
“It started with symptoms of severe abdominal pain and loss of appetite, and an ultrasound revealed a mass in his liver,” said Baqar. The biopsy results showed he had hepatoblastoma, a form of liver cancer found in children.
During the biopsy, he developed tumour bleed, and a tube had to be inserted into his chest to drain it. The artery carrying blood to the liver was blocked to prevent further bleed.
“His condition started deteriorating very fast and we thought that we will lose him, so we asked doctors at Lahore to refer him to India,” said Baqar. With the help of his family, friends and neighbours, he came to India with `35 lakh, and eventually received some support from Pakistan government.