Kenyan thyroid cancer patient in India gets a new life

BANGALORE: For Jane Muthoni, 38, life was almost perfect with her husband and three children in her small village in Kenya. That was until 2002, when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

Jane, a teacher, underwent a surgery at a local hospital but doctors couldn’t remove the tumour as it was stuck to her windpipe. The cancer cells began spreading, affecting her voice box and food pipe, extending into her chest and lungs.

Half her airway blocked, Jane’s survival was at stake. Jane and her husband, residents of Kianwe village in Kirinyaga county of Kenya, arrived in Bangalore a few weeks ago in search of medical help. Doctors at BGS Global Hospitals, off Mysore Road, took up the case as a challenge and organized a multi-disciplinary team involving a head and neck surgeon, a gastrointestinal surgical team and a thoracic surgeon, among others, to perform the operation.

The surgery went on for 15 long hours, during which doctors removed her tumour and sanitized her chest region by removing her voice box and food pipe. The food pipe was later reconstructed using a tube from her stomach.

Dr Vishal Rao US, senior consultant, surgical oncology (head & neck) said it was the first time in medical history that doctors had resorted to such an extensive surgery in a case of thyroid cancer.

Dr Srikanth Gadiyaram, chief consultant, surgical gastroentrology, said: “Extreme thyroid cases like the one Jane had are generally not attempted for surgery as it involves too many complications. She also suffered from depression and heaviness, with difficulty in spontaneous breathing. Her smile, post surgery, was the best gift for our efforts.”


For Jane, it’s God’s grace. Before leaving for home on Saturday, Jane visited St Mary’s Basilica in Shivajinagar. “It was a special experience to thank God for showering his grace on me and my family. I plan to take a three-month break before getting back to work,” she said.

“This is like a new life. I never thought I’d be able to get back to see my children. I’ve been through a lot of pain and sorrow over the past 10 years with repeated surgeries, radiation and tests. We decided to face the risk of surgery and go ahead with a strong will,” said


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