Queen of Tears: Hae-in’s cancer & treatment explained

Queen of Tears: Hae-in’s cancer & treatment explained

Queen of Tears added a heartbreaking storyline with Hae-in being diagnosed with a complex form of cancer – and the K-drama revealed more details and her treatment.

The K-drama storyline was thought to be a married couple who fall back into love after years of a rocky relationship. But Queen of Tears proved to be more complex than that. Amid Hyun-woo ready to divorce her, she throws in a curve ball that she has cancer.

Throughout Queen of Tears, Hae-in’s cancer diagnosis is the cataclysmic event that begins her and Hyun-woo’s whirlwind into falling in love again. But her cancer can’t be cured by a run-of-the-mill radiation treatment.

The writers did their job of crafting a more complex scenario where her illness plays a bigger role in the grand scheme of the storyline, Hyun-woo’s, and Eun-seong’s plans for her.

What type of cancer does Hae-in have?

In Episode 2, Hae-in learns from her doctor she has Cloud Cytoma. A very rare form of cancer that doesn’t have a treatment.

Her doctor informs her that the disease is extremely rare with only a handful of cases in the world. Hae-in is likely the first Korean case, but her diagnosis is far more complicated. Instead of her tumor being one lump, there are fuzz-like and has spread through her cranial nerves.

It explains why Hae-in has been losing track of time and doesn’t remember going to places. She would often get up to leave, lose focus, and suddenly appear somewhere else. Her tumors have concentrated near her temporal lobe, which is the area of the brain responsible for memories. With no treatment, medication also doesn’t help and Hae-in is given three months to live.

Is Cloud Cytoma real? A Google search reveals the rare disease doesn’t exist and was likely made up for dramatic effect in the K-drama.

Is there a treatment for Hae-in?

Yes, Queen of Tears does reveal two treatment options that could work for Hae-in – with one of them using sonic vibration to destroy the cancer.

After her diagnosis, Hae-in becomes determined to find a cure for her cancer. She’s given a new zest for life thinking Hyun-woo is still in love with her, especially after the reveal that Hae-in has always loved him and her cold demeanor was likely due to the cancer and memory loss.

She learns of a special treatment center in Germany with a high success rate. Their treatment isn’t specific to her cancer, but she believes it could work. In Queen of Tears Episode 5, her doctor reveals the treatment involves removing her immune cells and transforming them to be put back to help kill the cancer. Unfortunately, her white blood count was too low.

Hae-in goes to Germany anyway and learns from the doctor that to create CAR-T cells, they need to remove immune cells from her blood. But her condition has made it complicated. It’s later revealed the treatment didn’t work.

In Episode 13, a new treatment is revealed. Hyun-woo received a call from a medical facility who has developed a new form of treatment. They explain they use C2R ultrasound and microbubbles to help break away tumors like in Hae-in’s case. But, there’s a side effect, the operation could cause Hae-in to lose all her long-term memories. Hae-in has the operation in Episode 14 and wakes up remembering Hyun-woo’s name but retained no real memories.

Queen of Tears is available to stream on Netflix and you can watch more of Netflix’s 2024 K-dramas.

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