Living

Faces of Cancer: Ethiopian thankful he now lives in U.S.

Today, Sebsibie Abebie is meeting with doctors to coordinate his radiation and chemotherapy treatments for rectal cancer.

Abebie lives in Richland with his daughter, son-in-law and four grandchildren. The 72-year-old Ethiopian has lived in the United States for four years -- and he is fortunate he does.

In 2003, his wife died of breast cancer after she was misdiagnosed with tuberculosis.

"They found out after it was too late," he said.

His mother died of lung cancer, also after being diagnosed with tuberculosis. And his cousin died of colon cancer just four months ago.

He believes his wife would have lived if she had been treated in the United States, and he is confident he will live because he is here.

"I have a very thorough diagnosis," he said through a smile that rarely leaves his face. "How could it be possible to see all the experts in this field? This amazes me and gives me encouragement that I will survive and I will win."

During the next two months, Abebie will receive radiation treatment, then will begin chemotherapy. If necessary after that, he might need surgery in Seattle.

"By Christmas, I will have a very good idea," he said. "It was good news that they got it at a very early stage. It's because I'm in this country."

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