Timbre in 23-year-old man’s laughter turns out to be cancer in windpipe
7-Hr Surgery To Remove Rare Tumour
Mumbai: It was a mother’s instinct that forced 23-year-old Rohan to visit his family doctor late in September in Bhandup. She felt the timbre of his laughter had changed—something his friends noted over the next few days. “Everyone felt that I had suddenly developed a phony laughter,” he said.
But the casual doctor’s visit, over the next three weeks, led to the discovery of a rare cancerous tumour growing in Rohan’s trachea or windpipe. The trachea is a cartilaginous tube that connects the pharynx and larynx to the lungs and essentially allows the passage of air. It divides into two bronchi or passages to the two lungs. Tracheal cancers are classified as a type of lung cancer (accounting for 0.2 to 0.3 %), which is one of the fastest growing cancers in terms of numbers across India.
Rohan, a third-year BSc student of computer science, has since undergone a sevenhour-long surgery to remove four rings of his trachea and undergone 20 days of radiation treatment. “He is doing well at the moment and even managed to give some of his mid-term papers,” said doctors Swapnil Kapote and Manish Chandra who are in charge of his treatment at Jupiter Hospital in Thane.
Diagnosis was tricky in Rohan’s case, but the surgery too was equally so. “I took antibiotics for two weeks, but it didn’t help. Then the specialist whom my family doctor referred me to asked me to undergo a CT scan,” said Rohan. A CT scan centre in Mulund repeated the scans twice before they zoomed in on the cancer spot.
Dr Kapote said, “The tumour was growing at a tricky