A mock cancer test in medical class has become a reality for Gabriella Barboza. The unfortunate 22-year-old student was horrified to find out she had neck cancer during a lesson on tumor diagnosis…

It was an unlucky coincidence that happened during Gabriella Barboza’s medical course. At 22, the young woman went from being a medical student to a patient…

Currently in his third year, his teacher, Dr. Daniel Lichtenthaler, had asked him to demonstrate the correct method of examining patients for neck tumors. It was then that she discovered that something was wrong.

A real fake review

“When I found out, my world collapsed,” Gabriella told the New York Post newspaper about this incident, which happened in São Paulo, Brazil, in 2020. Responding to her teacher’s request , Gabriella starts the exam. But, during this mock inspection, his professor discovers real cancer symptoms that immediately alert him. He orders Gabriella to get checked out after class. Unfortunately for the young woman, this examination only confirms what her professor suspected: the young woman has a form of thyroid cancer called papillary thyroid carcinoma, also known as PTC.

too young to die

PTC is the most common type of thyroid cancer, affecting about 200,000 Americans each year, mostly between the ages of 30 and 50, and more commonly seen in women than men, according to the National Cancer Institute. Accounting for 80% of all thyroid cancer cases, PTC is also the most common cancer in women under 25, according to a study conducted by the Columbia Thyroid Center in New York. “I kept thinking about it,” explained Gabriella, explaining that she was devastated by the diagnosis. “I’m too young to deal with this. I cried a lot and I didn’t want to believe it. It’s a moment when you see that things can end”.

A high recovery rate

While she initially had no signs of TPC, Gabriella, upon her diagnosis, learned that the disease had metastasized to other parts of her neck, including her esophagus. Grateful to her professor, the student added “I think that if I hadn’t left that day, I might not have discovered the disease so soon, my diagnosis would have taken a lot longer and it would have could have been more serious. Due to PTC’s high recovery rate, doctors were confident that Gabriella could beat the disease. In November 2020, Gabriella received the first stage of treatment, a removal of the thyroid and peripheral tumors of the neck. In January 2021, she was given iodine therapy.

No trace of recurrence

Judged cured of her cancer the same year, Gabriella now has six-monthly exams to ensure that there is no recurrence. Her teacher, who initially couldn’t believe she had cancer, was also delighted with her student’s recovery. “Once I learned that the treatment had been successful, I was very happy,” he commented. “After months of struggle, I want to record this remarkable moment in my life, which made me a better person and made me see the world in a different way” explained Gabriella, concluding “I always wanted to be doctor to take care of others and treat people, whatever their specialty. But after what I’ve been through as a patient, I think my perspective has changed.”


Lara T.
Lara T.

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