Moe is a 31-year-old woman from Thailand. She lives with her husband and four-year-old son in Mae La Refugee Camp (MLRC) in Tha Song Yang District of Tak Province.
She has lived there for 20 years after her parents moved from Bilin Township, Bago Division in Burma because of the civil war. Moe is a homemaker who does all the household chores while her husband is a farmer who works on rented land outside of the camp, where he plants corn and beans. To make some extra income, Moe also sells snacks from home. Their combined income is enough to cover basic family expenses. As for healthcare, they receive free basic care in the camp provided by International Rescue Committee (IRC).
A few months ago, Moe started to feel a mass in her lower abdomen while she was lying down after eating dinner. She thought it was strange and told her neighbor about it the next day. Her neighbor told her that this was normal for someone gaining weight, which she suggested Moe was. Upon hearing this, she did not seek treatment, agreeing with her neighbor’s conclusion. However, she soon felt that the mass was increasing in size, which did not seem normal.
On February 13th, 2020, she decided it was time to go to the clinic in the camp for further investigation. The medic at the camp examined to her and told her that she likely had a cyst in her lower abdomen, but they could not diagnose her further. The medic informed the doctor at the camp and the doctor discussed the situation with IRC staff, who then referred Moe to Mae Sot Hospital (MSH) for further investigation. She was referred to MSH on February 17th for an ultrasound. Upon going to MSH, doctors performed an ultrasound and told her that she has a mass in her uterus.
Since the mass was already large, however, the ultrasound did not show a clear result whether the mass was outside or inside her uterus. For this reason, the doctor recommended a computed tomography (CT) scan on February 25th. Moe returned home and came back to MSH for the CT scan according to the appointment date. On the day of the scan, she also received a blood test and urine test before being informed that she would have to come back on February 27th to get the results.
When she returned, the doctor explained to her that there is a large tumor in her right ovary and that she needs surgery to remove it, followed by a tissue biopsy to confirm whether the growth is cancerous.
Currently, Moe has a burning pain in her lower right abdomen. Sometimes the pain gets worse, which makes it difficult for her sleep or eat well. For this reason, she said that she lost her appetite and weight. When she eats, she feels discomfort as her stomach becomes tight and full, even she eats very little. She feels like the mass is gradually getting bigger and she feels more comfortable lying down instead of sitting or walking.
Moe sought treatment through our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund. She is now scheduled to undergo mass removal surgery on March 24th and is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of her procedure and care.
Moe said, “Both my husband and I became worried when we heard that there was mass in my uterus. We worry that my whole uterus might need to be removed and we will no longer be able to have more children. Now, the doctor told me that only the tumor will be removed and that I most likely will be able to have children in the future. Me and my husband want to have one or two more children, so we were very happy when we heard that my uterus would not to be removed.”