Cancer is a devastating illness that affects everyone in one way or another. Whether you’re a thriver yourself or know someone who is battling the disease right now, you understand how debilitating the disease can be. Thankfully, there are persistent scientists, researchers, and physicians who are working around the clock to find a cure for cancer. There are breakthroughs every day all over the world which bring promise and hope to those fighting the disease.
Oftentimes, it just takes one person to turn a breakthrough into a standard. A team of doctors in England believe that has just been done again, thanks to a woman named Val Blunden. A part of Val’s jaw was removed in 2016 after battling mouth cancer but a pioneer operation she underwent in January is giving hope to cancer sufferers all over the world.
Following her surgery in 2016, two reconstructive surgeries were attempted but they left the former postal worker having to be fed through a tube and with restricted speech.
She told the BBC that she felt losing her jaw made her “a different person” and she was willing to undergo another operation, this time a distraction osteogenesis procedure (a way to make a longer bone out of a shorter one) in hopes of encouraging the bone in her jaw to grow back.
The procedure, according to Seattle’s Children Hospital involves cutting an existing piece of bone then “a device called a distractor pulls the 2 pieces of bone apart slowly.” New bone grows to fill the gap.
Head to the next page to see the results!