Baby with sarcoma needs urgent surgery to save her right eye

Baby with sarcoma needs urgent surgery to save her right eye

Sarcoma in children is a malignant cancer of soft tissue

All her parents ever wanted was for their baby girl to grow up like other children. But when baby Tran Bao Tram was diagnosed with sarcoma (a malignant tumour of the soft tissue) at four months, her parents were gutted. Determined to get their only daughter through this, the family from Vietnam went to 12 different hospitals seeking a cure. Sadly, nobody could help, as Sarcoma in children is a very rare thing.

However, when the family heard that there was a hospital in Singapore willing to help, they sold all their possessions, and the whole family made their way to KK Women's and Children's Hospital here in Singapore.

Currently, at 22 months, baby Bao is undergoing her fifth chemotherapy session. With her tumour growing larger every day, it is a race against time to save her right eye.

sarcoma in children

Sarcoma in Children: Rhabdomyosarcoma

As mentioned earlier, cases of sarcoma in children are relatively rare. According to research, approximately 850 to 900 children and adolescents are diagnosed each year with rhabdomyosarcoma. This is the same type of sarcoma as baby Bao's.

To explain briefly, sarcoma is a malignant cancer of soft tissue (such as muscle), connective tissue (such as tendon or cartilage), or bone. It is believed that certain genetic conditions, as well as high birth weight, can increase the risk of sarcoma in children. But in most cases, the cause is not known.

Rhabdomyosarcoma can happen anywhere in the body. But according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, about 40% of children get them in the head and neck and predominantly near the eye socket. Other parts of the body include urinary or reproductive organs, arms or legs, torso, inside the lung, as well as in the pelvic and perineal areas.

Symptoms of Sarcoma in Children

sarcoma in children

Sarcoma in children is not always simple to diagnose. Unless there are clear signs or symptoms, medical professionals can easily misdiagnose the disease for other health conditions that are unrelated to cancer. Diagnostic tests and a biopsy are usually needed to detect and diagnose childhood rhabdomyosarcoma.

The symptoms shown depend heavily on where the cancer is forming. Check with your child's doctor if your child has any of the following:

  • A lump or swelling that keeps getting bigger or does not go away (it may be painful)
  • Bulging of the eye
  • Headache
  • Trouble urinating or having bowel movements
  • Blood in the urine
  • Bleeding in the nose, throat, vagina, or rectum

Your child may also experience a chronic cough, bone pain, enlarged lymph nodes, weakness, or weight loss.

However, rhabdomyosarcoma tends to occur in areas that are noticeable. Doctors were able to diagnose baby Bao's condition early because of this.

Treatment

The common treatment for Sarcoma in children is surgery, followed by chemotherapy and possibly radiation therapy to kill off any remaining cancer cells.  

Although in most cases treatment is successful, there is still the possibility that the cancer might recur. If treatment fails, then there is a high chance that it will become advanced or terminal cancer. As you can see, despite her fifth round of chemo, baby Bao still has a long way to go before making a full recovery. She really needs all the help she can get.

If you would like to be a part of her journey to recovery please visit her Give.Asia page. We hope the family will raise enough funds to cover her treatment in Singapore. 

We wish to see you run and play like regular children when all this is over, baby Bao! 

 

Reference: National Cancer Institute, American Society of Clinical Oncology

Read also: Singapore boy with leukaemia badly in need of HELP!

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Written by

Rosanna Chio

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