Nurse from Oman undergoes marrow irradiation at Apollo

She was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia

When 35-year-old Omani nurse Fatima Humaid Ali Abri complained of fatigue and bleeding episodes, her doctors diagnosed it as chronic myeloid leukemia.

Her profession helped her understand the seriousness of the condition. Transplant surgeons, who were providing her chemotherapy, referred her to the Apollo Proton Cancer Centre in Chennai.

The Omani government came forward to fly her to Chennai for treatment. “She was diagnosed in January and underwent chemotherapy in February. In April, she underwent marrow transplant,” said Jose M. Easow, her doctor at the Apollo Hospital.

Of all her siblings, Fatima’s brother was identified as the full-matched donor for bone marrow donation.

Doctors gave her total marrow irradiation therapy. The procedure involves meticulous planning.

Dayanand Shamurailatpam, head of the Department of Medical Physics, first used simulation to plan the procedure to ensure accuracy of delivery of irradiation.

Later, the patient, who was in the third stage of cancer, was wheeled in for therapy.

Advantages of TMI

According to the doctors, the advantage of total marrow irradiation (TMI) or organ sparing marrow irradiation is that only the bone marrow is irradiated. It allows to give higher dose of irradiation to the bone marrow.

After total body irradiation, normally, patients return with complaints of cataract, thyroid malfunction, lung damage, diarrhoea or ailments of kidney and ovary.

“TMI spares these organs and gives patients better quality of life,” Dr. Easow explained.

The therapy cost the Omani patient around ₹18 lakh. She will return home, but the transplant doctors in Oman will review her every three to six months and her doctors in Chennai will constantly be kept informed of her progress.

Prathap C. Reddy, founder of the Apollo Hospitals Group, said the state-of-the-art equipment installed in the hospital was the first of its kind in South Asia and praised the doctors for their effort.

He said India was the third country, apart from the U.S. and Italy, to offer TMI.

“Cancer is growing at the rate of 36%, but I think it is 40%. If people come early, all cancers can be cured. In my native town, in the past three years, we screened the entire population for cancer,” he said.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 12:56:13 PM |

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