A GIANT tumour that engulfed a teenager’s face and caused his mother to disown him has been successfully removed.
Stunning before and after pictures show Kambou Sie’s transformation following surgery in Italy that reconstructed part of his face and eradicated the cancer.
Teenager’s face engulfed by tumour
The teenager from Ivory Coast, known as Prosper, was 10-years-old when the cancer started to attack his face.
At 16, he had been robbed of his sight, he was struggling to breathe and his mother and the community he lived in had abandoned him.
The only person who supported him was his father.
He contacted Sister Claudine from the Liliane Foundation asking for someone to help his son.
Prosper looking in the mirror after surgery to reconstruct his face
They passed his case onto the Italian charity A Voice For Padre Pio who made an appeal video and flew him out to Naples.
After arriving at Naples Pascale Hospital in Italy 14 months ago, tests revealed that the tumour was a rare form of cancer called Burkitt lymphoma, which attacks the immune system.
Prosper said: “When I arrived here, often I was afraid. I think that fear was all I felt. My nose used to block my sight. I had to hold my nose down to be able to see.”
Villagers in his hometown Bondoukou had thought he was cursed and avoided him.
“People said I was some kind of monster,” he said. “Saying that maybe it was something I had eaten which made me like this, but my cheeks just kept getting bigger and bigger.”
Prosper Kambou Sie blinded and struggling to breathe before surgery
He underwent six months of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and stem cell replacement last year.
He said: “Three days after I began chemo I realised I didn’t need to hold my nose down anymore to see.
“I am very happy because when I go out I don’t cry. I am happy to meet people. I go out, I have fun, I play around. I have no problems. I am very happy.”
Doctors are working on reconstructing his face since they eradicated the cancer.
Prosper having his bandages removed after surgery to reconstruct his face.
Specialist Dr Franc Ionna said: “There’s a flaw in the development of the facial bones. He has an alteration of the facial bone.
“’There’s a dissymmetry the left side is different to the right. One side has too much bone on the other is a deficit.”
Prosper’s bones are still recovering from the impact of radiotherapy.
The surgeon spent three hours emoving the cancer-damaged skin and releasing scar tissue hardened by the radiotherapy.
Prosper hugging his father.
Dr Ionna said: “I had an endless series of difficulties due to him having gone through radiotherapy the tissues were very stiff just like a wall.”
Prosper returned to his home in the Ivory Coast three weeks after his surgery.
He is no longer shunned by the community and his mother.
Prosper posing for a photo with friends and family.
Prosper kissing his mother on the cheek.
What is Burkitt lymphoma?
Burkitt lymphoma is a form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in which cancer starts in the immune cells.
It is named after British surgeon Denis Burkitt, who first identified the disease in 1956 among children in Africa.
It is common in young children who have malaria and Epstein-Barr virus, a common virus that also causes glandular fever.
It occurs when the body’s immune cells start attacking itself.
Burkitt lymphoma is uncommon – about 210 people are diagnosed with this type of lymphoma every year in the UK.
The most common symptom is one or more lumps that develop quickly.
It is the fastest growing human tumour and is fatal if left untreated.
But intensive chemotherapy can improve survival rates.
As treatment is intense patients are likely to need to stay in hospital while undergoing treatment.
Prosper said: “My face has changed. It’s not finished, but it’s changed. I have also changed. I am not like before.
“Before leaving, I couldn’t see a thing. It’s my country, but today as I arrive I’m new to it. I now have eyes to see it all.
“I don’t know what to expect. How the welcome will be. I don’t know if the welcome will be good or not. We’re arriving, it’s here.
“After the new year, I’ll go to school to study and find out what I want to do in the future.”
The teen will return to Italy for more surgery in the future.
His story will be shown on TLC’s Body Bizarre, Saturday’s at 10pm.