Christopher Jackson, a municipal worker, had his bottom
jaw removed to get rid of a cancer that was the size of a fist.
The operation at Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital was
conducted last weekend by Dr Marc Donnai and Dr Frank Graewe, head of plastic
surgery at Tygerberg. The doctors then reshaped the jaw bone using bone from
Jackson's lower leg.
"It takes a while, but when you see these patients
about a year down the line all the swelling has gone, the stitches are hardly
visible, and they look completely normal," said Dr Donnai. The survival
rate of the type of tumor that Jackson has is very little.
"But without the treatment, he would not have made
it to the end of the year," Donnai said.
The surgery has left
Jackson speechless for the moment and he has a pipe down his throat to aid his
breathing. However that is a small price to pay for surviving oral cancer.