At 98, lung cancer struck him. But the Big C was beaten back with a bigger C, meaning a hundred. Today, A. Appaswamy, who turned 100 in April, is still fighting fit.
Diagnosed with cancer by his family physician two years ago, Mr. Appaswamy decided to take a second opinion after one of his neighbours, a throat cancer patient, suggested he consult another doctor at HCG, a cancer care network. “Today I’m happy I took my neighbour’s advice. I have recovered and am back enjoying life with my great-grandchildren,” he said at a press conference on Thursday.
The father of eight has 13 grand children and six great-grandchildren, all in Bangalore. He is pretty much independent, following a disciplined lifestyle. He spends time watching cricket on television, reading books and The Hindu apart from another English daily.
“I spend four hours reading the papers and after that I spend time with my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I walk at least a kilometre every day and sleep for six hours. I used to go to the neighbourhood shop and buy milk and to the bank till last year. Now my children don’t allow it.”
His doctors, Kumar Swamy and Nalini Rao, radiation oncologists at HCG, pronounce his fit for his age.
“He does not have diabetes or hypertension or any other major problems except for age-related aches and pains,” said Dr. Swamy.
“Considering his age, the risk of surgery was high. The tumour was present in the upper part of his left lung and it was about 3.8 cm in size. He underwent three sessions of cyberknife on alternate days from May 24 to May 28 in 2011. After three months of follow up and two years’ post-treatment, he is fine now. Accessibility to advanced technologies has improved medical outcomes and quality of life,” Dr. Swamy explained.
Dr. Rao said that doctors decided to take a curative approach rather than palliative care. “Diagnosis of cancer should not rule out the possibility of treatment in elderly patients. Optimal treatment can be given through accessibility to modern technologies such as cyberknife.”
Replying to queries, the doctors said Mr. Appaswamy’s treatment cost around Rs. 4 lakh.
Mr. Appaswamy, who has been reading The Hindu since 1960, has been following all the changes the newspaper has gone through. Commenting on its recent new format, the centenarian quipped: “Whatever the format, The Hindu is The Hindu!”