Many people assume that lung cancer is a smoker's disease. This misconception is a common one and especially true for 57-year-old Khudoyberdi from Uzbekistan. He was not, and never had been a smoker; he didn't work with dangerous chemicals or aspirate toxic substances. So the question begs, how could he be suffering from Stage IV lung cancer?
When the diagnosis was finally made, the 57-year old’s doctor was as shocked and aggrieved than he was. “I just couldn’t believe the doctor’s report, in fact, my doctor kept asking whether I was hiding the fact that I was a smoker”, said Khudoyberdi.
Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer with over 150,000 new cases of non-smokers’ lung cancer each year around the world. Yet, it receives a fraction of the publicity due to the stigma that sufferers must have brought it on themselves. However, the sad truth is that anyone can be prone to lung cancer, irrespective of their lifestyle and habits.
“It started with terrible chest pains; I visited my local doctor who advised that I should get a chest X-ray done. The X-Ray showed my entire chest wall was clouded white”. Not sure about his diagnosis his doctor advised him to go in for further tests and subsequently a CT scan. Finally, his doctor bluntly told him that it looked like cancer.
Not knowing the full extent of his problem, Khudoyberdi began searching online for related symptoms. “I looked at many individual stories of cancer patients who had survived this ordeal, my search led me to Vaidam.com where I read about another patient who had similar symptoms - he had lung cancer”. Leaving a query on the website, Khudoyberdi was surprised to be contacted the very next day by a Vaidam case manager. After looking at the proposed list of best hospitals for lungs cancer treatment in India, he decided to get treated at BLK Super Speciality Hospital.”
Arriving in India on the 27th of May, Khudoyberdi now awaited his appointment with Director and HOD of Medical Oncology - Dr. Amit Agarwal. “I had to wait for a few days before my appointment with Dr. Agarwal, I was nervous and anxious to know the outcome of my meeting”. When Khudoyberdi arrived at the hospital the very next week, the doctor ordered a number of tests including a CT scan to identify that extent of the tumor. “Dr. Agarwal confirmed what I was expecting all along, I had lung cancer!”
Over the course of 5 weeks, Khudoyberdi underwent multiple rounds of therapy. It began with Dr. Agarwal performing a lobectomy to remove a tumor. Although the procedure was successful, additional therapy was recommended due to the size and location of the tumor. Dr. Agarwal prescribed a course of chemotherapy, to be followed by radiation therapy. Over the next week Khudoyberdi was kept under close observation, “multiple scans were taken, after every scan that came back clear I kept telling myself it would soon be over” says Khudoyberdi.
“I was put on medication, which I am taking till today, thankfully in lower doses”. After 5 weeks, Khudoyberdi finally completed his treatment at BLK hospital: “What a great place" he explained. "When I go there, it's like I'm visiting my family. I always rave about it. It is very unique in that they have state-of-the-art equipment in a brand-new facility with the friendliest people you've ever met."
When asked about his doctor he says: “Dr. Agarwal is fantastic and is the best lung cancer doctor in India, I highly recommend him to people who are suffering from similar problems.” Now almost a month after treatment, Khudoyberdi is back in Uzbekistan and sees his local doctor for periodic checkups. “I feel much better now, the treatment took a lot out of me, but I have survived and am very happy with the outcome.