‘Cancer is not a death sentence’
It’s a hospital that doesn’t smell or look like one. The lobby has high ceilings and front reception desks like in a luxury hotel.
You seldom see patients in the hallways. You can find some patients at the cafeteria ordering their food. Most of them stay in their rooms which are actually studios with their own kitchen and sala.
Welcome to Fuda Cancer Hospital, one of its kind this balmy side of Asia. Located in the city of Guangzhou, South China, the hospital specializes in treating cancer without chemotherapy or radiation. Instead it focuses on killing cancer cells through cryosurgical ablation, and strengthening the patient’s immune system through nontraditional means, including acupuncture.
Declared cancer free
One former patient, former Ambassador and Negros Occidental Rep. Apolinario “Jun” Lozada Jr. greeted us with a spring in his steps. He was admitted in July for prostate cancer, and in late November, the doctors at Fuda led by Prof. Kecheng Xu declared him “cancer free.”
Lozada was among several Fuda patients who gave their testimonials on their battle with cancer via Fuda’s “3C+P” treatment model. The patients’ testimonials became a sidelight at the launch of the Guangdong Provincial Light of Life Society for Cancer Rehabilitation, the Jinan University-Fuda International Postgraduate Training for Cancer, the International Cryosurgery Center for Pancreatic Cancer and the Li Chaolong Modern China Medicine Research held here recently.
A forum on Green Treatment of Cancer attended by cancer experts from China and abroad capped the launch held at the Nan Fung International Convention Center. The media present were also given a chance to witness an actual cryosurgery via a TV monitor. And boy, it was like watching a sci-fi movie.
Cryosurgery—from the Greek word cryo which means “icy cold”—basically means destroying the tumor by exposing it to freezing temperature of minus 160 degrees Celsius. Guided by ultrasound or laser which shows a detailed view of the location of the tumor, a fine needle is inserted into the damaged tissue. The movement of the needle is controlled by a doctor through a special equipment that is hooked to a computer. Once it touched the tumor, the needle is blasted with a cooling chemical. The procedure is repeated twice or thrice until the tumor is ‘killed’ or ablated.
More important than cure
But cryosurgery alone is not the treatment. “Cancer has become a common disease,” Dr. Xu, chief physician and CEO at Fuda, said. “What many have realized is that cancer prevention and posttreatment rehabilitation are more important than the treatment itself.”
Xu calls their treatment the 3C+P—which stands for Cryosurgery (C), Cancer Microvascular Intervention (C), Combined Immunotherapy for Cancer (C) and Personalized therapy (P).
According to him, most cancer treatments aim to “kill” the cancer cells. But noncancer cells are affected in the process. The 3C+P method specifically targets the diseased tissue, thus “conquering the cancerous tumor while maintaining the healthy atmosphere of the body,” Xu said.
The cryo procedure, for instance, is limited to the tumor. In the Cancer Microvascular Intervention, the drug is also directly inserted into blood vessels supplying blood to the tumor, Xu explained further.
But these treatments, he emphasized, is calibrated according to the patient’s actual condition. “It is personalized treatment,” he added.
Dr. Xu’s main message is “cancer is not a death sentence.”
Which was what Lozada actually felt when his Manila-based doctor told him he had prostate cancer (Stage 2) in March last year.
Lozada remembered walking back to his car, settling in his seat, looking but not seeing the people on the streets as his driver brought him back to his office by the Manila Bay.
“I kept asking myself, or maybe I was asking God, Why me? Mabait naman ako (I am kind)?” he said.
Lozada, who served as presidential adviser for foreign affairs and appointment secretary of President Fidel V Ramos from 1992 to 1998, also kept his cancer to himself. At the Office of the Vice President Jejomar Binay where he is adviser for foreign affairs, Lozada said “I pretended to be very busy.”
Got even more scared
Actually, he was scared, and got even more scared by reading and googling everything and anything about cancer.
One day, he just decided he wanted to beat cancer. He went home to the province, and his aunts dragged him to an herbolario [a therapist who heals by the use of herbs] in Pontevedra, Negros Occidental.
Yet another aunt took him to healing priests in Quezon and Cavite for miracles.
How Lozada found himself at Fuda is a story by itself.
It started with a Chinese friend who learned about his cancer by accident.
This friend told his sister who is on the staff of Manila District III councilor Bernardito Ang.
Ang, who has a businessman cousin who is a frequent Guangzhou visitor, said he knew of a hospital that specializes in cancer.
Ang said it happened so fast. “We started calling each other, then we were booking flights and summoning friends who were available. It was like we were moved by bayanihan spirit,” Ang recalled.
One day in July 2014, Lozada, with a gang that included councilor Ang, arrived at Fuda. A battery of doctors led by Dr. Xu examined Lozada and recommended cryosurgery and immunotherapy. And the rest, as they say, is history.
So, who’s afraid of cancer? Not Lozada, who authored “Who’s Afraid of FVR?” in 1992. The book became a sought-after campaign material that election year.
Not anymore, he said, citing his daughters, Mary Frances, and Charmaine Louis, for giving the crucial push in his decision to seek treatment, and the rest of his extended Ilonggo family. And generous friends, like Councilor Ang. And finally, Fuda.
As a gesture of thanks for the new lease in life, the 64-year-old former diplomat has also joined a band of volunteers who have agreed to spread the good word about 3C+P and Fuda.
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