March 13, 2011


What is the time line?

Preoperative chemoradiation therapy = 1.5 months
Recovery = 2 months
Surgery and recovery = 2 months
Post-operative chemotherapy = 6–9 months
(I plan to be cancer free by my 30th birthday)

How much is all of this costing?

It's costing me very little, it's costing my country quite a lot. The vast majority of expenses are covered by our national health care scheme and so far I have only had to pay for the initial colonoscopy and a few other minor expenses. I have visited a gastroenterologist, general surgeon, colorectal surgeon, radiation oncologist, medical oncologist, dietitian, occupational therapist, anaesthetist, andrologist and social worker, with very few out-of-pocket expenses. I'm reminded of something about Australia being the lucky country.

Is the plan still to return to China?

Yes. I plan on heading back as soon as I am healthy and free from this cancer (this will most likely be after the postoperative chemotherapy in 2012). I will however need to return to Australia more frequently for follow up tests and surveillance.

Did China give me cancer?

This question is a common one. We lack the science to be able to say what exactly gave me cancer. China is polluted and they still use chemicals in their agriculture and manufacturing that are banned outside China. But China has colorectal cancer rates (my type of cancer) 1/3 of the rate of Australia.

How did I get cancer?

This is a giant question that will most likely remain unanswered. There is no history of colorectal cancer in my family. A brilliant geneticist has been working on my case and testing the DNA of me and my tumour. I have tested negative for known genetic conditions (sch as FAP and HNPPC) and mutations. The geneticist says that it is highly likely that a mutation is responsible for my cancer because I am too young to have an older person's cancer. Finding that mutation will have to wait until science reveals more mutations to screen for. The geneticist will hold on to my blood and tissue samples and continue to test for mutations and causes as they are scientifically revealed.

1 comment:

  1. That is an insane number of specialists. It's easy to forget how specialised medicine really is. I bet you are glad you are at a one-stop-shop instead of travelling all over Melbourne every day.