Li Hongfang, who cannot afford treatment, has been forced to watch her condition slowly take over her face.
A 40-year-old Chinese mother-of-two has been left horribly disfigured by seven tumors that have been steadily growing on her face for the last ten years.
Li Hongfang, who lives as a pariah in her community because of a rare condition which has caused her face to slowly swell into disproportionate measures, cannot get medical treatment for Chordoma because she cannot afford it.
Chordoma is a type of bone cancer which causes tissue to grow and tumors can arise anywhere from the skull base to anywhere along the spine.
Li's trouble started in 2001 when she noticed a small swollen spot on her forehead which she had initially ignored because it was not painful, but four years later when she was finally diagnosed, doctors informed her that she had seven tumors growing on her face.
However, because she could not pay the 600,000 yuan ($94,000) medical bill, she has been forced to watch them slowly swell and take over her face.
"I know that a lot of people see me as a monster but I am just a normal woman and a mother inside," she said, according to the Daily Mail.
She had been living with her husband and two sons in Tianchao village, in Qianxian county, in west China’s Shaanxi province when she was diagnosed.
"We didn't have much money but we were very happy and we loved each other and our two boys. I would say life was good then," Li said. "I didn't think anything of it when I got a small swelling on my forehead – I thought it was probably just an insect bite. It didn't even itch or ache in anyway – but it also didn't go away and in fact just got bigger and bigger."
Li Hongfang with her son before the tumors started to grow
About 300 Chordoma patients are diagnosed in the U.S. each year, according to the National Cancer Institute, and western countries a patient would have the tumor removed and then given high doses of radiation therapy.
However, because of China's healthcare system, Li, who has a 17-year-old and a 14-year-old son, both of whom have left home to work, has been unable to afford medical care.
Li was told that she would have to pay to have the operation, which is far beyond anything she could ever afford.
Published by Medicaldaily.com