A Filipino man who lost part of his jaw to oral cancer said Thursday he can now chew and have a more normal life after having free reconstructive surgery in Taiwan.
Daniel Merana, who was diagnosed with oral cancer six years ago, said at a news conference in Taipei that the operation was performed at Shin Kong Wu Ho-su Memorial Hospital in the city on Aug 3. and lasted about 14.5 hours.
In the first week after the operation, Merana said, he was in a lot of pain, but now he is doing better and can chew soft foods.
Merana was referred to the hospital in May by a Taiwanese doctor Hao Sheng-po, who was in Manila for a medical workshop and surgical demonstration. Hao removed a tumor from Merana's jaw at the Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center (JRRMMC) in Manila on May 30.
""To many people, the surgery (in Manila) was a success, but to me, it was incomplete,"" said Hao.
He later decided to transfer Merana, who was having difficultly chewing, to Taipei for reconstructive surgery.
However, Merana had no money for the follow-up operation, which would have cost about NT$600,000 (US$18,759).
Through the efforts of the Taiwan-based Orient Europharma Co., Ltd., which has a branch in the Philippines, Merana was brought to Taiwan for the phase two surgery, all at no cost to him.
Orient Europharma paid for his ticket and met the full cost of the surgery and his hospital stay.
""I'm happy... thank you, thank you very much Dr. Hao and Mr. (Antonio) Chua from the Philippines (JRRMMC), "" Merana said at the hospital, adding that he will return home Friday.
Oral cancer is prevalent in the Philippines due to the habit of chewing betelnuts. It usually occurs in people in their 60s and 70s who usually cannot afford the high cost of surgery, Dr. Chua said.
The JRRMMC and Shin Kong Hospital have signed a bilateral agreement on exchanges in the technological, medical, and cultural fields. (By James Lee) ENDITEM /pc