New Delhi: A 79-year-old man, who suffered from an “aggressive” stage four lung cancer, has got a new lease of life after undergoing immunotherapy at a private facility in Gurgaon, hospital authorities said on Tuesday.

There is a notion that advanced lung cancer patients can have a life expectancy of one year, according to a statement from Paras Hospitals Gurgaon.

“With the use of immunotherapy, we have been able to prolong the survival with excellent quality of life of a 79-year-old patient. He is probably one of the longest survivors of stage four lung cancer benefiting from modern therapy,” it claimed.

The patient was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in 2016 and he was administered immunotherapy since then. He responded well to the treatment and is one of the longest survivors of advanced stage cancer in India, claimed the statement.

After his diagnosis in 2016, the patient had an unsuccessful trial of chemotherapy of various types and he was quite debilitated, confined to a wheelchair with his advanced lung cancer.

Dr (retd Col) R Ranga Rao, currently Chairman, Paras Cancer Centre, Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon advised him immunotherapy, which was quite new to India at that time and after a few weeks, he was able to walk. He initially had a few side-effects like skin rashes and thyroid issues but it was immediately managed by doctors, it said.

Unlike chemotherapy, immunotherapy does not kill cancer. It rather makes the immune cells more effective to fight the cancer cells. Presently, the patient is doing very well and waiting to celebrate his 80th birthday early next year, the statement said.

Speaking about the case, Rao said, “Despite an aggressive stage four cancer, he has fought the cancer and has survived without undergoing any surgery. Lung cancers can be tackled even at advanced stages and older age groups through the advances of newer techniques in cancer treatment and selection of the right choice of therapy.”

The senior doctor claimed that he was one of the initial patients for immunotherapy, which is especially for those patients who have failed chemo, he said.

“When he came to me in 2016, he was wheelchair-bound and now he is a completely fit person who does his exercises regularly, plays golf and comes for his check-up on his own,” the doctor claimed.

The patient had a history of prostate cancer from which he recovered in 2010 and was suffering from Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD).

Initially for three years, he was called for immunotherapy for two weeks and then it was reduced to once every two months.

His quality of life has improved to such an extent that now he has no cough, breathlessness and weakness. He has even gained weight and is living a normal life. He has always been a non-smoker and always lead a disciplined life, the statement claimed.

“I never thought that I would be able to lead such a healthy and quality life after being diagnosed with two cancers,” the patient said.

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