Thursday, 28 July 2016

#SaveMayowa - Truth or Scam?

On Thursday, a lot of confusion and controversies surrounded Mayowa Ahmed, the sickle cell patient with ovarian cancer who recently raised funds on social media.

When I read her story some days back, I was touched like many Nigerians to donate a small token towards her treatment. So when I read it was a scam, I felt bad.

However, in this unfolding saga,  I don't know which party to believe- Mayowa's family or her accusers.

But as a medical doctor, here are the facts I know are true:

1. Ovarian cancer is a common cause of cancer death in women.
    Maryam Babangida also died from ovarian cancer and I'm pretty sure money was no object in her    care.

2. Mayowa really has stage IV cancer - her abdominopelvic CT scan which showed the distal part of her chest results stated there was pleural effusion in the right lung with consolidation and evidence of spread to the liver.

3. It's not Mayowa's fault if the disease was detected late because ovarian cancer has no recognized screening test. Most of the time the disease is detected at an advanced stage.

4. The prognosis for ovarian cancer remains poor overall. Patients with stage IV cancer have a chance of 11%. If the tumour has a low malignant potential, Mayowa has a 30% chance of survival.

5. Currently, the standard treatment for Stage IV ovarian cancer consists of both surgery and chemotherapy. Unfortunately, less than 10% of patients experience long-term survival following standard treatment. This is because Stage IV ovarian cancer is difficult to completely remove with surgery and the currently available chemotherapy is unable to eradicate all of the remaining cancer.

6. Over 50% of patients with Stage IV disease may experience cancer recurrence.

So maybe the family wanted to make some money but from my experience as a medical doctor, we are trained not to tell patients that they are beyond treatment. We only state your chances of survival (prognosis) from statistics.

Also, every patient has the right to seek a second opinion and  treatment from wherever and whomever they feel can treat them.

In conclusion, I hope Mayowa recovers fully and there was no scam.

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