An 8-year old Utah girl has been diagnosed with breast cancer, making this one of the earliest instances of this diseases that doctors have ever witnessed.
On November 9, Chrissy Turner was told that she was suffering from juvenile secretory carcinoma of the breast, an extremely rare malignant tumor encountered among infants and children.
In a study that has been published in the Pediatric Surgery International Journal, it estimated that less than 0.15% of all breast cancer patients are affected by this particular type of tumor.
This illness was first described among kids starting from 1966, when isolated cases were reported, one of them concerning a Korean girl who was just 3 years old.
In most of these situations, the malignancy manifested itself through an asymptomatic lump which appeared in the breast, and was growing slowly.
While there was high likelihood of local recurrence, overall prognosis seemed to be good following surgery (mastectomy). On the other hand, radiation therapy was usually discouraged, given that it could affect the children’s overall growth and development.
In Chrissy Turner’s case, it was the little girl herself who discovered the cancerous growth in her chest. She told her parents that she had actually had it for a while already, but had been too afraid regarding what the lump might mean.
When the child was taken to the doctor and the shocking diagnosis was given, her mother Annette had trouble processing the news.
The family, who lives in Centerville, near Salt Lake City, had been affected by malignant tumors before. Annette Turner had suffered from cervical cancer, while her husband Troy, who is a decorated Gulf war veteran, had fought non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and is currently experiencing a relapse.
Fortunately, physicians at the Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City believe that although Chrissy’s cancer had a one in a million likelihood of emerging, it can be easily vanquished.
According to Dr. Brian Bucher, the tumor is “very treatable”, but will require the girl to go through a simple mastectomy at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, so that the entire breast tissue can be removed, and so that there is no possibility of cancer recurrence.
Afterwards, she will have to undergo a period of recovery at the Primary Children’s Hospital.
At the moment, the Turner family, who was forced to file for bankruptcy in July 2013 following numerous medical bills, is struggling to raise money, in order to cope with the treatment and health monitoring costs required for saving Chrissy’s life.
Those wishing to assist in covering these staggering expenses can access the GoFundMe page ( www.gofundme.com/Chrissysalliance), created by Melissa Papaj, one of the Turners’ closest friends.
It is hoped that the mastectomy will take place quite soon, at the beginning of December, so as to improve Chrissy’s prognosis as much as possible.
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