A hospital in southern China has been attracting thousands of foreign cancer patients with its treatment expertise, particularly for those in advanced stages.
Founded by Xu Kecheng in 2001, Guangzhou Fuda Cancer Hospital has received more than 30,000 foreign patients. Many of them have lost all hope in their own countries.
Fuda’s major treatment modalities are cryotherapy and NanoKnife surgery. Cryotherapy, also known as cryosurgery ablation, involves the use of liquefied gases (such as argon and helium) that freeze and kill cancer cells. More than 10,000 patients received such treatment since its inception in 2002.
NanoKnife, on the other hand, is a minimally-invasive surgery option that uses “high electric-field and ultrashort pulses” to destroy cancer cells. It is also called Irreversible Electroporation (IRE).
The hospital first came to global prominence in 2008 when a stage-four pancreatic cancer patient from Denmark by the name of Gurli Gregersen reportedly improved. Thousands have flocked since then.
In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Xu shared that he developed Fuda’s “cancer control model” based on his own experience. He was diagnosed with liver cancer and underwent surgery in 2006.
Declining other treatment offers, the 78-year-old digestion specialist told the outlet:
“My doctors said that it’s their routine procedure to do radiotherapy and chemotherapy for cancer patients, but in my eyes, these treatments are unnecessary. I decided to control the cancer by myself.”
Xu is also a supporter of immunotherapy, a cancer treatment option currently banned in China. According to SCMP, Xu claimed that Fuda avoided immunotherapy, but “Combined Immunotherapy for Cancer” remains part of its cancer treatment model as indicated on its website.
“Now, immunotherapy is in fashion in the international medical field. China’s immunotherapy was the most advanced in the world. But the crackdown has set back its development … Some patients [on the mainland] now go to Japan for this treatment,” he said.
Xu’s confidence in immunotherapy is supported by oncologist Mu Feng, the hospital’s vice president, who told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in August:
“I had an 80-year-old patient with esophagus cancer, but the cells spread to his liver. There were 50 lesions so the liver function was bad. If you looked at his CT scan, you wouldn’t think he would survive. He could not do chemotherapy and radiation. I injected an antibody that links the immune cells with the cancer cells to improve liver function. He was very weak before, now he can walk.”
Today, Fuda treats around 1,000 of foreign patients every year in recent years, a figure far beyond those of other hospitals in mainland China. Most come from Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
“All of us are satisfied with the service here,” an Indian national whose mother receives treatment told SCMP.
Aside from its treatment model, the hospital also draws interest as Chinese and foreign patients are charged with similar rates.