Cancer patient with chunk of tongue missing smiles for the first time after speech and swallowing rehab sessions at Apollo

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For the first time in seven years, a Park Circus family has seen a smile on the face of cancer patient Samir Khan who has lost a large chunk of his tongue to cancer all thanks to a rehabilitation programme that he has been attending free of cost for the last 15 days at Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, Kolkata.

Samir, 35, who had paid the ultimate price for his habit of chewing tobacco in 2012 when he had to undergo a surgery to remove a portion of the tongue. A peon by profession till then he had to discontinue work due to the illness. The family soon ran out of funds and the treatment that was going on in Bangalore had to stop.

“Seeing our financial condition, my brother was referred to Apollo Hospital Kolkata, as we needed to have the treatment in our hometown. At Apollo, his chemotherapy began anew, followed by radiation therapy. His cancer went into remission but bhaiya’s went into a shell,” Shabnam Khatoon, Samir’s younger sister and a private tutor by profession.

But after attending the rehab sessions at Apollo, Samir is now speaking to people. He is also able to finish the semi-solid diet he prescribed to him much sooner now.

The rehab centre also caters to patients who have undergone mastectomy (breast cancer surgery), head and neck surgery or shoulder surgeries among others. The facility has been functioning since February 2019.

According to Shabnam, Samir speech was hardly intelligible and he spoke to himself and even developed behavioral issues.

“But recently, Dr. Tanweer Shahid, the radiation oncologist with whom we have been following up told us about the new rehab centre for cancer survivors at Apollo. The sessions are for Rs 600 per session but he has attended 15 sessions but the doctor has made this free,” Shabnam said.

According to rehab specialist Soumyasree Samantray, who has been treating Samir, the family has been sensitised about the therapy so that they can help him practice and get better. But they want him to continue the sessions because his general behavior has improved a lot and he is happier after attending the sessions. And, yes, the sessions will continue to be free for him.

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