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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Dubai man needs cancer surgery

Abd El Hadie has a rare cancer and cannot afford Dh70,000 surgery on meagre monthly salary

Abd El Hadie has stage three urethral cancer and doctors are advising that he has surgery immediately. Christopher Pike / The National
Abd El Hadie has stage three urethral cancer and doctors are advising that he has surgery immediately. Christopher Pike / The National

When her husband left her when their son was only a few years old, Moroccan Rabiaa Dahmoun decided that she would do everything in her power to give her only boy a better life - and that even extended into adulthood.

Five years ago she got the chance to relocate to Dubai to work at a bathhouse giving Moroccan baths to clients, and she promptly also applied for a visa for her son to join her.

She doesn’t complain about her job, despite it being taxing, involving being in a sweltering hot steam room scrubbing clients for long hours every day. “I am grateful for the work but I am only concerned about my son,” Ms Dahmoun said.

Abd El Hadie, now 35, works as a driver for a construction company in Dubai, doing double shifts until 1am earning Dh2,000 a month.

After he started feeling pain in his abdomen and while passing urine a few months ago, he went to see a doctor and was told that he had stage three urethral cancer, with doctors advising that he have surgery immediately.

The urethra is a hollow tube that lets urine pass from the bladder to the outside of the body.

Urethral cancer is the most rare of all urological cancers and more common in men than women. Treatment depends on the stage and location of the disease but the primary method is surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation.

Procedures for advanced cases such as Abd El Hadie include removal of the bladder and urethra.

"Doctors told me that they will have to remove my urethra and that my condition is very rare,” he said. “They said that they had no specialists for this procedure here and the only case that was done was in 2009 and a specialist was flown in to perform it.

"I'm scared but I want the bleeding and pain to stop. I've never felt or imagined pain like this in my life. I’m in agony.

“It is impossible for me to urinate and sometimes it feels like I’ll die from the pain.”

Unfortunately for Abd El Hadie, he has also developed kidney failure but that doesn’t stop him from trying to earn money.

“I push myself every day to work and not show my employers how sick I am. If they find out, they will cancel my visa and I’ll be deported,” he said.

Surgery for him will cost Dh70,000, a figure he cannot afford and his insurance does not cover.

“I have no one in this world but my son and I am begging for assistance to pay for his surgery. The operation has to be done immediately otherwise the cancer will spread. I am so scared and I don’t know who to ask or where to go for help,” said Ms Dahmoun, 53.

Both Abd El Hadie and his mother live in separate shared accommodations provided by their respective companies.

“I miss him and we used to meet during weekends but now he is in too much pain to see me. It is so hard for a mother to see her only child going through this and not being able to do anything about it. Time is running out,” she said.

Hisham Al Zahrani, manager of Zakat and Social Services at Dar Al Ber Society, said: “Abd El Hadie needs Dh70,000 for surgery and the family have no income other than their salaries. Together they earn less than Dh5,000 and will not be able to afford the cost of the operation of which without, Abd El Hadi’s health will deteriorate. We are asking for donations to pay for this urgent surgery.”

salnuwais@thenational.ae