China’s so-called “Elephant Man”, Huang Chuncai, 37, from Hunan province, had surgery to remove a 3.3lb (1.5kg) tumor from his face.
He suffers from the world’s worst recorded case of neurofibromatosis, which has caused large tumors on his face that have completely distorted his features.
On Wednesday, he had a successful operation at a hospital in Guangzhou to remove the tumor from his left cheek. He must now endure two more to try and get his condition under control.
Neurofibromatosis is the name for a number of genetic conditions that cause swellings or lumps. The growths and swellings – called neurofibromas – are caused by the accelerated growth of cells – but are not cancerous or contagious.
Huang’s many tumors have put terrible pressures on his body. His backbone is deformed, and his body growth has been affected. Five years ago, the various tumors weighed 33lb (15kg),
The first tumor was discovered when Huang was 4-years-old. As he grew, so did the tumor. He quit school when he was 10 years old because his classmates laughed at him because of his condition.
When he was 25, all of his teeth fell out. After that, he found it difficult to speak and eat.
The Daily Mail reports that several years ago, a circus approached his father to buy his son for ‘monster performances’; his parents refused.
This is not the first time that Huang has had surgery for the condition. In 2007 and 2008, he had operations which removed a tumor weighing 33lb.
All the operations are extremely risky due to the high chance of heavy blood loss.
At least Huang is receiving the best possible treatment, unlike the original “Elephant Man”, Joseph Merrick, who died in London in 1890 at the age of 28 after having suffered indescribably all his life.