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The number of foreign patients in Korea has increased from 296,889 in 2015 to 497,464 in 2019. Last year, 8,983 patients came from the Middle East and 4,089 from the UAE, accounting for 45.6 per cent. Image Credit: Supplied

Khamis Abdulla Sultan Al Haatemi, 50, Thyroid cancer

. Image Credit: Supplied

“When I first discovered the disease, more than 50 per cent of the airways were pressed by cancerous tumors, so I was very worried. However, as I was tested and treated at Korea University Anam Hospital, my worries turned into trust. After a long treatment for about four months, involving a surgery to remove the entire thyroid gland and part of the airways and 27 radiotherapy sessions, I was able to return to the UAE in a healthy shape. I started my treatment in Korea in February, when the coronavirus began to spread, but we were able to complete the treatment safely and comfortably with Korea's excellent quarantine and infection control system.”

Maryam Mohammed Ahmed BinShaker Alblooshi, 2, Liver transplant

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“I am deeply grateful to the government of the UAE for helping my daughter, Mariyam, get treatment abroad. I would also like to thank Abu Dhabi Health Department for their prompt and skillful handling of treatment approval. Mariyam first had a Kasai procedure but after three months, doctors advised her to go for a liver transplant. The liver transplant procedure was carried out at Asan Medical Center in Seoul. We thank all the medical and non-medical staff at Asan Medical Center for their support and care.

Suhaila Ahmed Mubarak, 2, Acute lymphoblastic leukemia

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“Initially, we planned to take Suhaila to the US for her treatment, but due to visa issues, she was finally treated at Samsung Medical Center in Seoul. At that time, we had no idea about healthcare in Korea. As soon as we landed in Korea, we immediately rushed to the hospital from the airport and Suhaila was hospitalised as she developed a problem with the central vein that required reinsertion. This perhaps happened because of the stress of travel. However, even in such a situation, doctors and all the medical staff in the ward did their best for Suhailla, giving us confidence in the treatment process. There are many good hospitals in Korea offering treatment for childhood cancer, and it’s worth mentioning that Professor Kun-hee Yoo of Samsung Medical Center provides outstanding care for paediatric cancer.

Muna Al Kaabi, 55, breast cancer

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“I am currently undergoing breast cancer treatment at Ewha Woman’s University Medical Center in Korea. My nephew had brain surgery in Korea earlier and I was aware of Korea’s advanced healthcare facilities. So I decided to travel to Korea for my treatment. One of the advantages of availing treatment in Korea is its fast process – I was able to start chemotherapy on a Friday right after meeting with the doctor on Wednesday, two days after I arrived in Korea. Furthermore, Professor Paik Nam-Sun of the breast cancer center at Ewha Woman’s University Medical Center is very experienced and kind, who patiently listens to all my problems and carries out the treatment with confidence.

“Despite the pandemic, I have decided to stay in Korea and continue my treatment because Korea's medical system and quarantine procedure are very systematic. I hope to finish my treatment and return home soon.”

Joud Waleed Abdulla Ahmed AlMarzooqi, 4

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“Joud was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma in Thailand, and the medical staff recommended Korea for further treatment. Joud visited Seoul National University Hospital for cancer treatment in March 2019. At that time, the patient was urgently in need of chemotherapy, and the treatment plan was to reduce the tumor size with about four chemotherapies and then perform the surgery. However, even after the chemotherapy, the size of the tumor remained the same and the location of the tumor started to invade the blood vessels. These further complicated the surgery. After about a year of chemotherapy, the right hemihepatectomy procedure was successfully carried out earlier this year, and she didn’t require the liver transplant. Doctors also conducted a second surgery, excision of diaphragmatic mass, in June. We would like to express our gratitude to the patient and her family, who followed the treatment plan of Seoul National University Hospital and endured the complicated treatment without giving up.”