Derek Holland, 63, diagnosed with prostate cancer four months ago, has been accepted for treatment at the National Cancer Center in Seoul for nine weeks of proton therapy. He is the first New Zealander to undergo this kind of treatment.
Proton therapy, though touted as a superior form of radiation therapy, is not advocated by New Zealand medical authorities. The Ministry of Health says New Zealand has no plans to offer the treatment.
Derek and his wife Sally discovered proton therapy as they were looking into alternatives to surgery. They sold their house to pay for the trip and the proton therapy treatment, which costs more than US$ 50.000 in Seoul (and even more in the United States and Europe).
“I would sell my soul if it was going to get my husband the right treatment,” Mrs Holland said.
Mr Holland has now been admitted at the hospital, and is being filmed by the South Korea Medical Tourism Corporation, which promotes medical treatments in the country for international patients.