February 20th 2017
Teenager beats cancer twice thanks to pioneering care at The Harley Street Clinic
When Kamal Khalifa developed a swollen knee, initially his parents were not concerned. As the 15-year-old was accident prone, they put the discomfort down to growing pains.
However, an X-ray revealed a huge osteosarcoma tumour on his right knee, a rare type of cancer. His father Nageeb who was working for the United Nations at the time in Jordan, immediately scoured the world for the best place to treat his son.
Within 48 hours, he was in London at HCA’s The Harley Street Clinic.
Tests carried out under the supervision of paediatric oncologist Dr Maria Michelagnoli revealed the cancer could be treated, but it would take a minimum of 11 months.
‘Dr Michelagnoli was very reassuring but she warned that the harsh chemotherapy treatment could also kill Kamal,’ says Mr Khalifa.
After three rounds of chemotherapy to shrink the tumour, Kamal underwent surgery on his leg. During the nine-and-a-half-hour procedure, surgeons removed ninety per cent of the bone of his leg, from above his right knee (including the tibia) down to his foot, and replaced them with platinum prostheses. Kamal endured the pain and surgery with remarkable bravery.
‘After the traumatic surgery and while in severe pain Kamal called me in a panic, wanting to know if his leg was still there as he couldn’t feel it. It was a lot for a child to go through and for the family,’ says Mr Khalifa.
It took Kamal six months to be able to walk again during which he had to undergo a further three gruelling chemotherapy cycles. During the eleven months of treatment, Kamal had 14 other surgeries to insert and replace a Hickman line, a tube inserted into his heart through the main vein in his neck to deliver chemotherapy, because it became infected.
‘At one point, Kamal was so sick and with zero immunity that I was told by staff to brace myself for the worst. It was a horror moment,’ says Mr Khalifa.
After pulling through the chemotherapy, Kamal was well for 12 months and then relapsed, this time with same osteosarcoma cancer in his lungs.
Nevertheless, treatment was successful and now, aged 26, he is in good health.
‘The care we received at The Harley Street Clinic was second to none. The team was very honest with us and extremely supportive and compassionate. If we had not travelled to the clinic, Kamal would have had his leg amputated. In our society, people don’t talk about cancer so I have written a book in Arabic about my son’s experience called ‘My Son and His Struggle With Cancer’,’ says Mr Khalifa.
Other Case Studies
February 20th 2017
JOEL Ucko was diagnosed with a rare heart condition purely by chance
He went to his GP aged 10 with a cold and ear ache that wouldn’t clear, and a routine check of his chest revealed he had a major heart murmur. After being referred to Professor John Deanfield, a Paediatric Cardiologist at The Harley Street Clinic, he was diagnosed a rare congenital heart condition called […]