Thursday, 10 July 2014 - 11:25
Dutch cancer case cured in Belgium
Cancer patient Nol van Bekhoven was told that he had until the Spring to live according to Dutch doctors. He has survived past Spring and well into Summer, and is even tumor-free after going to Belgium for treatment, the Algemeen Dagblad reports. Nol van Bekhoven went to Gent for a unique operation, and one last chemotherapy session. He has now been told that his tumor has vanished. "If it were ip to the Dutch doctors, I would not have been here anymore", Nol tells the AD. His current treatment means he will need to go for a scan every three months, to keep an eye on his situation. Nol is aware that he will not be as strong as he used to be, but is still relieved. "I will stay thin, but I'm still here. I get up every morning, make my rounds in the garden and am happy." Now, doctors in Gent are seeing a rise in patients from The Netherlands, looking for a second opinion. Since Nol and wife Anja told their story to the AD in April, their healthcare insurance provider DSW has received several requests to be referred to Gent for second opinions. Belgium performed a unique oesophagal-liver operation on Nol, which had been done more often in England and Japan. According to the AD, the operation was deemed too risky for Dutch doctors. Only one clinic in Terneuzen, ZorgSaam, was ready to provide before- and after-care, because they have had ties with Gent clinics for some time. Healthcare insurance provider DSW from Schiedam emphasize that this was an exception. "We are very happy that it is going well with this man, but operations abroad remain an exception, that we review every time", says Chris Oomen, director at DSW. Attending surgeon in Gent, Oswald Varin, is also hesitant to give hope to all cancer patients that the same fate as Nol's awaits them in Belgium. "Of course it can come back. In months or years, but also then people have won a lot of extra time." This is what Anja and Nol are also happy about. "Dutch doctors reproach us that we went on carelessly and that we're stubborn. I know one thing for sure: without the Belgians, Nol would not have been sitting next to me now."