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Why an American went to Cuba for cancer care
20 April 2017- bbc.com
•Cuba has faced more than 50 years of US sanctions. Now, for the first time, a unique drug developed on the communist island is being tested in New York state. But some American cancer patients are already taking it – by defying the embargo and flying to Havana for treatment.
Judy Ingels and her family are in Cuba for just six days. They have time to go sightseeing and try out the local cuisine. Judy, a keen photographer, enjoys capturing the colonial architecture of Old Havana.
And while she is in the country, Ingels, 74, will have her first injections of Cimavax, a drug shown in Cuban trials to extend the lives of lung cancer patients by months, and sometimes years.
By travelling to Havana from her home in California, she is breaking the law.
The US embargo against Cuba has been in place for more than five decades, and though relations thawed under President Obama, seeking medical treatment in Cuba is still not allowed for US citizens.
“I’m not worried,” Ingels says. “For the first time I have real hope.”
She has stage four lung cancer and was diagnosed in December 2015. “My oncologist in the United States says I’m his best patient, but I have this deadly disease.”