On December 25 Huang Chuncai, or the ‘Elephant Man of China’, underwent surgery to remove over three pounds (1.4 kg) of tumors from his face at a hospital in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. He is believed to have the world’s worst case of neurofibromatosis, a disorder that affects tumor growth.
Huang, from Hunan province, has gone through several operations in the past to remove the tumors on his face that have at one point weighed as much as 33 pounds (15 kg). The tumors cause him constant physical pain and have stunted his growth.
In a Reuters report from 2007, a neighbor described how Huang’s tumors began to form when he was young:
Huang’s face and head swelled when he was a child and, according to a neighbour, his mother said he should be a government official when he grew up because his head was so big.
“His head got bigger and bigger each year,” said neighbour Huang Bamei, who shares the same name.
Huang lost his teeth when he was 25 and can’t see from his left eye because of the overgrown tumor covering it.
NY Daily News reports:
Despite his nickname, Huang doesn’t actually have what doctors call “elephant man disease,” according to Simon Vukelj, Director of Communications for the Children’s Tumor Foundation.
Elephant man disease is the congenital disorder Proteus Syndrome, which also causes tumors but isn’t the same as Huang’s neurofibromatosis.
[Images via Youtube]