Mumbai: 3-hr surgery rids Rebecca of cancerous tumour

Operation was performed on Tuesday morning, during which the tumour was removed from her face; the melanoma relapsed within months after the first tumour was removed in April

“A three-hour-long operation to remove the cancerous tumour on Rebecca’s face was conducted on Tuesday with the help of four doctors, part of the advisory committee of doctors to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park,” said SGNP Veterinary Officer Sanjiv Pinjarkar, about a surgery on the white tigress.

The surgery has given the 19-year-old ailing white tigress a new lease of life. Confirming that Rebecca is responding positively to post-surgery treatment, park authorities said she would be administered steroids and various medications in the coming weeks for a speedy recovery.

Rebecca, the park’s lone white tigress, is a major attraction for tourists visiting Lion/Tiger Safari at the SGNP. She was diagnosed with melanoma — a type of skin cancer earlier this year. In April, Rebecca underwent a two-hour long surgery for the removal of a malignant tumour.

Later, she was subjected to four chemotherapy sessions. Unfortunately, the cancer relapsed within months and once again she had to undergo two chemotherapy sessions.

Expert hands at work
To ensure a successful surgery, park officials had approached the Advance Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer (ACTREC) at the Tata Memorial Centre and two other private institutes.

The team that performed yesterday’s surgery comprised — SGNP’s in-house vet Dr Pinjarkar, Dr C C Wakankar, former professor from Bombay Veterinary College, Dr P R Chaudhari, scientific officer at ACTREC and wildlife vet Dr Manish Pingle.

The tumour was removed from under one of the eyes. It was two weeks ago that the vets discovered that Rebecca’s cancer has relapsed after her health started to fail and she quit eating for a few days.

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