Narrator: Today on the Dr Oz Show, a television event. Dr Oz’s highway to health makes history.
Dr. Oz: There are moments in your life that define your life.
Narrator: 700 volunteers, nearly 2,000 people who need Dr. Oz.
Woman: I’m 31 and I could not get health insurance.
Woman 2: I don’t want to die.
Narrator: Lives will be changed, some even saved.
Dr. Oz: She has a hole in the middle of her heart.
Narrator: Healing America’s forgotten.
Dr. Oz: We care about you, you matter to us. We’re here for you.
Dr. Oz: We came to Houston with one simple goal, to help the thousands of American’s falling through the cracks of in our health care system. But, nothing prepared us for Steven.
Narrator: By 10 a.m. hundreds of people are lining up to see doctors. We had made a point of keeping an eye out at all times for urgent critical cases, and that’s how we found Steven. With his shockingly massive tumor on his lip. Over the course of three years it had mushroomed from a small blister into a catastrophic medical emergency. We immediately rushed him to an exam room to see Dr. Karni and Dr. Ho, who specialize in ear, nose, throat, and reconstructive surgery.
Dr: It’s actually, certainly invaded into the muscle of your lower lip as well, it’s a muscle it’s a muscle that moves your lip. I can certainly feel some lymph nodes on the left side of your neck that feel enlarged and are probably involved, it’s hard to guess but probably involved. This gentleman came to our free clinic here today and he’s basically had quite a big lesion involves his entire lower lip and it’s probably a skin cancer.
Dr Oz: Hi I’m Dr. Oz. How do you brush your teeth?
Steven: I don’t.
Dr: You don’t. Does it hurt?
Dr: And it’s hard to get a job with that I bet?
Steven: I try to go for a job, they turn me away. When they see it they look at it and they keep looking. They’re not really seeing the real me, and it bothers me.
Dr: Well this is a very sad story because what we have here is a young person, who is otherwise healthy, who has a cancer that really could have been treated with a small excision in the office and he could’ve gone to finish his day at work, and instead because time has passed we’re now dealing with a very large problem. He’s really the ultimate failure of our system. Of course if we did nothing for this cancer, it would continue to spread through your neck possibly through your chest and it could be life threatening.
Steven: It could kill me.
Dr: That’s exactly right.
Steven: That’s what I’m afraid of. I’m 43 years old; I’m not ready to die yet. I’ve still got a lot longer to go.
Dr Oz: Please me Dr. Ron Karni and Dr. Tang Ho. So Dr. Karni, you do a lot of cases around problems that are visible to the human eye, like Steven’s. How does this compare to the other cases you see?
Dr Karni: Well, unfortunately we see quote a few cases like this where cancer in the head and neck can cause a lot of problems. If you add to that the problem of the uninsured people in south Texas, then you can have a problem that can really get out of proportion, and something that was easily preventable or treatable can become a huge problem, a life threatening problem.
Dr Oz: I overheard the conversation you were having in Houston about the extent of the tumor. Steven how are you coping with that?
Steven: Well, sad. Really be glad to get it off.
Dr Oz: Dr. Ho, if Steven had insurance do you think it would look like this today?
Dr. Tang Ho: I think it’s very unfortunate and as we’ve seen today on this show it’s not a perfect system and there are cracks, but at the same time I’m very glad that you know we had resources such as the Gateway to Care, and also the free clinic as such that so Steven is able to get the care that he needs now.
Dr Oz: So, Dr. Karni maybe you can talk us through the first part of this. How do you actually get the tumor out and make sure that as much as possible you can cure this problem?
Dr. Ron Karni: Sure. Well, what we need to do is take him to the operating room and we’re going to do it very quickly after this show, and we’re going to have to remove his lower lip which includes the muscle of the lip and a lot of skin of the lower face including the lining inside the mouth. Unfortunately, in Steven’s case we’ve also confirmed now that he does have cancer spread to both sides of his neck, and so what we need to do also is go ahead and take out the lymph nodes of both sides of the neck that have the cancer in it.
Dr. Oz: Steven, I made an animation to show this to you and to everybody else. So, if you can turn, come turn around this way. Alright so as we made the reception that Dr. Karni is going to cut that bottom part of your lip out obviously that leaves a large scar, but he also has to go down into each neck to remove those lymph nodes that have cancer in them. Then the question is how is Dr. Ho going to put you back together again? He’s going to take a little bit of skin from your forearm with the blood supply so you can stay alive; he’s going to cut up top so it comes with the artery and the vein. He’s going to go back up to your mouth insert it there to take the function of your lip and put it back again so you can speak and everything else. Then connect the veins and the arteries up that part right there is really hard to do, but, Dr. Ho has spent a good part of his adult life figuring that out. Do I have that right Dr. Ho?
Dr. Tang Ho: Correct.
Dr. Oz: And I only bring that up because, you know it‘s hard to do which means it’s expensive but it means humans have put their heart into it and they put their heart in it to be able to help people like you. So does that make sense?
Dr. Oz: So, there’s one other part I haven’t told you about which is in order to do an operation that that’s this extensive you need to actually have some mechanism of getting follow-up care. So the team hustled and we were very blessed to find that the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. They came to bat in a very big way, I want to give them a huge shout out and introduce Dr. Steven Standiford, he’s the director of surgery there and the third member of your team. Dr. Standiford come on out. Thank you very much, thank you very much, thank you very very much.
Dr. Steven Standiford: Beautiful job.
Dr. Oz: Walk us through a little bit about how are you going to be able to help Steven.
Dr. Steven Standiford: Well, as Dr. Oz was saying your treatment isn’t going to end with the surgery and the recovery from the surgery. There’s going to need to be additional treatment, radiation treatment, perhaps chemotherapy, added into that and we’ve been able to arrange at Cancer Treatment Centers of America for that. But, in addition there are the other pieces that can take care of the cancer you also have to take care of you. I see a man who’s scared, You need someone to work with you and help you through that. With this obviously you can’t eat well, with the recovery from the surgery you can’t eat well. Nutrition, vitally important if you don’t put the building blocks there you’re never going to heal.
Dr. Oz: But we need your help too, and you may suspect what I’m going to ask you about but I can tell for those of you who are not medical experts. If you develop lip cancer I can almost guarantee that cigarettes were in your past, sometimes they’re in your present so I asked a very, very close friend of mine who’s actually the medical, the chief medical consultant for the show, Dr. Michael Rosen. He’s the chief wellness officer at the Cleveland clinic and a super guy, and tough as nails on this stuff if he’d help us out with you. So, Dr. Mike talk us through a game plan for Steven?
Dr. Michael Rosen: Well there are four reasons that you’ve got o quit smoking. One is to heal this, you need to quit smoking otherwise it impedes the healing of what their going to do. Secondly, without, if you keep smoking you have a great risk of heart and lung complications afterwards. Third is, to avoid the spread of the tumor you’ve got to quit smoking, because smoking facilitates that spread, and the fourth reason is so you don’t get anything else after they’ve got you that far. So are you willing to commit?
Dr. Oz: So, Mike mentioned four reasons to stop smoking, but there’s a fifth reason. I want you to remember that the only thing we’re asking you is to love yourself as much as we do. That’s what it’s truly all about. That the most important thing that I took away from my visit to the free clinic is I thought that so many of the people coming there thought they were invisible, they didn’t count, they didn’t matter, you know they were just off in the periphery of society. You’re straight in my bulls-eye target area for all of us. We want to make sure you know that. This coming alive for you?
Dr. Oz: Alright buddy. Thank you Dr. Karni, Dr. Ho, Dr. Standiford, Dr. Rosen. Amazing story, helping this wonderful guy, giving the amazing gift of life. Be right back.