A New Zealand woman says that the advice she got from her doctor friend on Facebook saved her life and met him for the first time this week to thank him.
Diana Craig, 54, from Auckland, was diagnosed with throat cancer in early 2018.
The cancer had spread to her lymph nodes and after several surgeries and multiple radiation rounds, Craig was told that she was cancer free.
But a follow-up appointment in May 2019 revealed that the cancer had returned and was spreading. Craig was given six to 24 months to live, reported PIX 11.
Surprised, she turned to a Facebook group where she met retired pediatrician Dr. Sajjad Iqbal from Ridgewood, New Jersey, who believed that Craig was a candidate for new, more aggressive treatment than what her local doctors told her – and told her to Get a new oncologist.
Craig did like Dr. Iqbal said, started immunotherapy and now, four months after her bleak diagnosis, Craig & # 39; s new oncologist said that her cancer is no longer detectable in her body.
Diana Craig, 54 (right), from Auckland, New Zealand, says her life was saved by Dr. Sajjad Iqbal (left), a retired pediatrician from Ridgewood, New Jersey, with whom she had contact on Facebook
Craig was diagnosed with throat cancer in early 2018, but after surgery and radiotherapy she was told that her cancer was undetectable. In May 2019, she heard that the cancer had returned and that she had six to 24 months to live. Pictured: Craig, left and Dr. Iqbal, right
According to The starbook, Craig's oncologist told her that the cancer was in her right lung and the lymph nodes in her chest.
She was told that she could be treated with chemotherapy or immunotherapy, but her chances of survival were low.
Craig said she was skeptical when hearing the news.
& # 39; I just felt in my heart that this was not good & # 39 ;, she told PIX 11.
She placed her story in an online Facebook group, Head & Neck Cancer Support Aotearoa, and asked for help and advice.
Dr. Iqbal, a salivary gland cancer survivor who was diagnosed in 2002, read her post and held out her hand.
The pediatrician, who retired 30 years ago, was given a 30 percent chance of surviving two years.
& # 39; I felt it was my duty to help Diana because I was exactly in her hopeless position & # 39 ;, he told The Star-Ledger.
The couple exchanged Facebook messages, emails and phone calls, in which they discussed Craig's case.
& # 39; I said the first recommendation is to change your oncologist, & # 39; said Dr. Iqbal against PIX 11.
& # 39; I think the biggest mistake people make is that they hear the word cancer and are already half dead. & # 39;
Craig contacted Facebook for advice and was connected to Dr. Sajjad Iqbal, a retired pediatrician from Ridgewood, New Jersey. Pictured: Craig, in the middle, in the hospital
Dr. Iqbal recommended that Craig get a new oncologist who would offer more aggressive treatment. Last month Craig learned that she is cancer free. Pictured: Iqbal, left and Craig
Dr. Iqbal believed that Craig was a candidate for an immunotherapy drug called Keytruda, The Star-Ledger reported.
Immunotherapy is a type of treatment that increases the body's natural defenses to fight cancer.
The doctor believed that, in combination with radiation therapy, he would give her the best chance of survival.
Craig's new doctor approved her for treatment and she started shortly thereafter.
PIX 11 reported that she heard last month that she was cancer free.
The two met for the first time this week in New Jersey and said they hoped to offer hope to other cancer patients.
& # 39; You must have hope, but you must be determined to take over your own health and be your own best lawyer & # 39 ;, said Dr. Iqbal.
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