Sahana Khatun, 10, Becomes First Girl To Be Treated For 'Tree Man' Syndrome

Sahana Khatun, 10, Becomes First Girl To Be Treated For ‘Tree Man’ Syndrome

A young girl in Bangladeshi is being treated for epidermodysplasia verruciformis, better known as “tree man syndrome,” and may be the first female ever diagnosed with the incredibly rare disease.

What is tree man syndrome?

According to MedScape,epidermodysplasia verruciformis is a “rare, inherited disorder that predisposes patients to widespread human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas.” Typically, a person with tree man syndrome will experience “wartlike lesions and reddish-brown pigmented plaques on the trunk, the hands, the upper and lower extremities.” The main concern, aside from the intrusive growths, is the possibility that they could turn into skin cancer.

Tree man syndrome cannot be cured, but the growths can be removed as they develop. Generally, the lesions start appearing in childhood, and continue to grow as the patient ages. According to Dermnet New Zealand, 7.5 percent of cases appear in infancy, 61.5 percent in children aged five to 11 and 22.5 percent during puberty. The disease is very rare, and so far has only been documented in males.

Sahana Khatun’s Story

Sahana Khatun is 10-years-old and started developing a rash on her face eight years ago. However, it wasn’t until last year that she started noticing the tree-like warts appearing. On Sunday, Sahana’s father Mohammad Shahjahan took her to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital to find out what the growths were, and how they could be treated.

“She has bark-like warts growing on her chin, nose and ear,” Dr. Samanta Lal Sen, the chief plastic surgeon at the hospital, told CNN. “We don’t know yet if this is (one) hundred percent a ‘tree man’ syndrome, but it definitely is a variety of the epidermodysplasia verruciformis, disease which causes very unusual skin disorder.”

Sahana’s mother died when she was six, and now she lives with only her father. Mohammad works as a laborer, but their financial state isn’t great. He said he hopes that the doctors will be able to treat his daughter and remove the lesions from her face.

“We are very poor. My daughter lost her mother when she was only six. I really hope that the doctors will remove the barks from my beautiful daughter’s face,” he said, according to the BBC.

Luckily, Sahana’s case of tree man syndrome isn’t as severe as some of the others that have been reported, and the doctors are hopeful that they can remove all of the wartlike growths during one surgery.

If Sahana does, in fact, have the disease, she will become the first female to receive the diagnosis. USA Today reports that there have only been four other cases- all men- who have been diagnosed with this form of epidermodysplasia verruciformis.

Abul Bajandar — the “Tree Man” of Bangladesh

Abul Bajandar is known as the “Tree Man” of Bangladesh because of the tree-like branches that had started growing from his fingers, palms, and feet. Abul, 27, has been living with the disease for years, but just sought out treatment last February. Since then, he has undergone 19 surgical procedures to restore the use of his hands.

“I want to live like a normal person. I just want to be able to hold my daughter properly and hug her,” Bajandar told CNN during an interview last year.

[Featured Image by Alex_Traksel/]