For many of us, summer break is over and we are back from our vacations to attend school or go to work. Some may already be planning their next holiday. Travel is not only fun, but it's genuinely good for our health and wellbeing. We hope that all of our supporters had a great time this summer!
Cancer patients, however, travel for different reasons. Most often it's to access medical expertise and level of care unavailable close to home. Sometimes, it's the doctors themselves who tell the patients to try their luck elsewhere, where the resources and possibilities are not as limited. Ability to accept patients at a short notice is another factor, or having no visa requirements that delay travel plans. A lot of times, it's the word of mouth, a recommendation from a friend or another patient. In the former Soviet Union, most patients tend to go to Israel, Germany or Turkey for treatment when no further treatment options exist at home.
Stas, a 14-year old from Ukraine, is one such patient. In early 2017 he had surgery to remove a tumor. Local doctors determined it to be benign and Stas had no further treatment. In March 2019 Stas began having stomachaches and went to see doctors again. He was referred for comprehensive evaluation, and the scans showed multiple lesions in his lymph nodes. These were metastases from cancer that was previously misdiagnosed as benign tumor. Two of the lesions were removed during biopsy, but another one was deemed unoperable. The doctors had a hard time determining the type of cancer, and Stas’s family decided to take him abroad for further diagnostics and treatment.
The family flew to Israel where Stas was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of rare solid tumor. The doctors are giving Stas a good prognosis, but the treatment is costly. Stas's ability to remain on treatment depends on the kindness of strangers. He already had surgery that removed all visible metastases, but he still needs to stay in Israel and complete 5 cycles of chemotherapy and 30 radiation sessions, to be followed by maintenance chemotherapy for another year.
Your donation will ensure that patients like Stas have access to quality cancer care abroad. It is an unfortunate reality that there is a significant gap in patient outcomes in developed countries and the former Soviet Union. Traveling abroad allows patients with rare cancers to bridge that gap and improve their chances to beat cancer.
Thank you for your support!