After his search for a doctor to cure his cancer ended in success, an elderly man who lives a simple life in the Mekong Delta wrote a heart-felt thank you letter to Head of General Surgery Dr Do Minh Hung, the doctor that saved his life.
His note was only short – around 200 words — but conveyed oceans of emotion.
The email didn’t have a title and Dr Hung almost skipped it, but after opening it and starting to read, Dr Hung realised it was from one of his patients.
Dr Hung recalled that the patient came all the way from his rural hometown to Binh Dan Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, where Dr Hung was working at the time and performed the surgery. The patient requested Dr Hung’s personal email address from Binh Dan Hospital and had written: “I know a successful case of cancer treatment at Vietnam National Cancer Hospital and that person has lived for more than five years. In my case, thanks to your treatments, it’s been seven years and six months and I am still living well. Please give me the address of your new hospital so that I make another visit to see you.”
Reading the words flowing from the bottom of his patient’s heart, Dr Hung immediately realised who was writing – it was Mr. T., who had visited Binh Dan Hospital eight years ago seeking treatment for his abdominal pain and gastrointestinal disorders. The patient had lost about 10 kg and his spirit had dropped dramatically. After a thorough examination, doctors found that Mr. T. had stage 3A stomach cancer. Dr Hung performed the endoscopic surgery and removed the diseased half of Mr. T’s stomach.
“During the surgery, I also found small tumours in his intestine, so I removed them. In these cases, patients would normally undergo traditional surgery, not endoscopic surgery. His family was very surprised that he could receive endoscopic surgery despite the severity of his condition,” recalls Dr Hung.
“While the letter reminded me of those patients whose lives I have helped to continue, it also reminded me of the ones who weren’t lucky enough to make it through.”
Dr Hung appeals to people of 40 years old and over to undergo frequent screening for gastrointestinal cancer at a hospital or medical facility. The doctor says that gastrointestinal cancer screening proves to be very effective in detecting diseases early, when there is the best chance of being treated successfully.