CHILDREN WITH BONE CANCER
12 year old Sushma (Name Changed) started limping with pain which gradually increased. She is the only child for Prema. The mother noticed this and saw that there was a swelling in the upper part of thigh. They live in a village in Mandya district of Karnataka. They approached a nearby general practioner who prescribed medication. Even after taking the tablets the pain continued to increase. The child was taken to a hospital in Bangalore. Several investigations where done. The MRI revealed a growth in the thigh bone. The patient was immediately referred to Dr Srinivas Chirukuri, Orthopaedic Oncosurgeon a Prakriya Hospital, Bangalore. A needle biopsy was done and the diagnosis was confirmed to be Ewing’s Sarcoma of the bone (Bone Cancer).
Ewing’s sarcoma is a high grade bone cancer which usually affects the children. If detected late or untreated, the cancer cells will spread to other parts of the body and lead to death. In the last 3 decades chemotherapy drugs have helped in curing these patients. The cure rate ranges from 50% to 70 % if the cancer is detected early and treated adequately. The part which is affected needs to be treated either by surgery or Radiotherapy or both. Patients with this cancer are subjected to amputation of the limb which cripples the person. With modern reconstruction techniques, the limb can be preserved. If cancer can be detected early and treated completely the chance of cure is high.
Sushma’s parents where counselled about the treatment options. As the cost of treatment was high, the parents struggled to arrange fund for treatment. But the mother was determined to save her child. With the help of the hospital, the treatment was initiated. She first received Chemotherapy followed by surgery. She underwent a unique 7 hours surgery where her cancer affected bone was removed, the bone was treated with high dose radiation and re-implanted into the body immediately. The bone thus implanted is a dead bone but with time the bone recovers to be a normal healthy bone. Sushma is undergoing further chemotherapy. The parents are looking forward for financial assistance from the Chief Ministers relief fund which is yet to be received.
Ones she completes the treatment she is expected to go back to school. She needs to be on a regular follow-up with the doctor for few years.