Mohammad Latif Khatana, 32, from Kashmir, India, cannot see or work due to the severe creases on his face.
Strangers spit on the road as he walks, disgusted by his features.
He is now over the moon that his wife is seven months pregnant, but worried his son or daughter will look like him.
He said: “I cannot wait to be a father and have some happiness in my life. But I worry every day and pray my child is not born like me.”
Latif, who lives high in the mountains with his 25-year-old wife Salima, in Tuli Bana, in Jammu and Kashmir, travels to Srinagar for four months of the year to beg and find money.
He was born with a small lump on his face but it has continued to grow and form huge flaps across his face, making it impossible for him to see.But Latif, who is in no pain and takes no medication, still worries his child will be born with the same facial condition.
He said: “We can’t afford to see a doctor now, we’re too poor. And no doctor in the past has told me not to have children. I can only hope and pray that our baby will be healthy.”
So how did this happen?
The neurofibromatoses are genetic disorders of the nervous system that primarily affect the development and growth of neural (nerve) cell tissues. These disorders cause tumors to grow on nerves and produce other abnormalities such as skin changes and bone deformities. Although many affected persons inherit the disorder, between 30 and 50 percent of new cases arise spontaneously through mutation (change) in an individual’s genes. Once this change has taken place, the mutant gene can be passed on to succeeding generations. Scientists have classified the disorders as neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) and neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2). NF1 is the more common type of the neurofibromatoses. In diagnosing NF1, a physician looks for changes in skin appearance, tumors, or bone abnormalities, and/or a parent, sibling, or child with NF1. Symptoms of NF1, particularly those on the skin, are often evident at birth or during infancy and almost always by the time a child is about 10 years old. NF2 is less common.
Is there any treatment?
Treatments for both NF1 and NF2 are presently aimed at controlling symptoms. Surgery can help some NF1 bone malformations and remove painful or disfiguring tumors; however, there is a chance that the tumors may grow back and in greater numbers. In the rare instances when tumors become malignant (3 to 5 percent of all cases), treatment may include surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.
Below are just a few pictures of those who suffer from facial tumors.