Skip to main content

China's 'Elephant Man' Refuses To Star In Freak Shows (Photos)

A man from China who suffers from a rare genetic condition that grossly distorts -- in this case, his face -- has turned down multiple offers to be the star of a "freak show."

According to the Daily Mail, Huang Chuncai, 39, is "China's Elephant Man." Because he suffers from a 33-pound facial tumor, he has been featured in documentaries and been the subject of medical studies throughout his life. 

The rural Chinese man rarely goes out into public.  

Image placeholder title

Experts believe he is the world's worst-known case of neurofibromatosis -- a diagnosis that encompasses a number of genetic conditions characterized by lumps or swellings.

Although doctors have tried to remove the massive growth, which holds the world's record for largest, in four separate surgeries, the tumor has persisted. Local media sources claim the growth is slowly growing larger. 

The four procedures did, however, help check the size of his facial tumor by removing a total of 46 pounds of growth over seven years. 

Paid for the by the Chinese government, his first surgery took place in 2007. Three subsequent surgeries funded by charitable donations soon followed. 

"I was shocked, I had never seen a tumor as big as Haung's on a human body," Dr. Wu Binghui, one of Huang's surgeons, stated at the time of one of his surgeries.

"I was completely overwhelmed. The tumor was huge and full of blood. It would flow out when you cut it."

Following a procedure, Huang commented: "I feel really good, this time my face feels even better -- much lighter and it's easier to eat."

"I hope I can do some work and earn some money -- I will be helping to run our local shop.

"I don't look as scary as before now [that] my tumor is much smaller," he then said. 

Image placeholder title

According to The Telegraph, the condition was left untreated for three decades because his family was too poor to afford treatment. 

The tumor first started appearing when Huang, from a rural part of central China, was just 4 years old. 

Taunts from his fellow school mates when he was younger led him to drop out after just a few years.

He currently resides with his parents and siblings, who are used to his appearance.

He lives a relatively normal life and continues to turn down offers to be a main attraction of "freak" shows. 

The original Elephant Man, Joseph Merrick, suffered from a different disorder than Huang.

Merrick was believed to have had Proteus syndrome, which is characterized by abnormal protrusions of the skin, bones and head.  

Sources: Daily MailThe Telegraph / Photo credit: Pixabay, Barcroft Media Via Metro, AsiaWire via Daily Mail 

Popular Video