Two-year-old says goodbye to best friend before undergoing chemotherapy
Neuroblastoma is also difficult to diagnose in its early stages because symptoms are very common, such as aches and pains, loss of energy and loss of appetite.
Cousins Ryan and Nathan are best friends, spending every day with each other since they were babies.
Recently, however, the pair is being kept apart because Ryan has just recently undergone six days of hard chemotherapy, says the Irish Mirror. He also received a bone marrow transplant.
According to the Mirror, Ryan suffers from stage 4 neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer that usually affects children. The cancer also renders the body’s immune system really low.
In fact, so low is Ryan immune system that he is being kept in isolation and often isn’t allowed to see anyone.
Even her mom Leanne can’t be in the same room with him because she’s pregnant, and Ryan’s treatment risks her baby’s health.
“This all came about on New Year’s Eve,” says Ronald Duffy, Ryan’s grandfather. “He was in hospital in Drogheda and got diagnosed and was rushed off to hospital in Dublin. It has been ongoing basically since then.”
In his two-years of existence, Ryan had already undergone eight chemotherapy sessions.
Sadly, 60-70% of children suffering from neuroblasma relapse after going into remission. Treating the cancer is also expensive.
According to The Mirror, Ryan’s parents Ronan and Leanne Coyle need at least €300,000 to send their son to America for treatment, hoping that it would prevent a relapse after a treatment.
“He is unbelievable. Every time you think he is gone, he is coming back,” Ronald said. “He has had a tumor and they thought they were going to have to remove a kidney but instead they only had to partially remove one of the small parts of the kidneys.”
He also said that the treatment for Ryan’s cancer can only be one in the States, and that the “whole community of Dunleek have really got behind the family and the kid and trying to raise that money for him.”
What is neuroblasma?
Neuroblastoma is a rare cancer that usually affects young children, developing from the nerve cells called neuroblasts. Neuroblasts are found along the back of teh chest and abdomen.
“In many cases, neuroblastoma first develops in the adrenal glands (the two small glands above the kidneys) and can spread to other areas such as the bones, liver and skin,” says NHS. The cause is also generally unknown.
Signs and symptoms
Symptoms depend on where the cancer is. It us also difficult to diagnose in its early stages because symptoms are very common, such as aches and pains, loss of energy and loss of appetite.
“A relatively late sign is a lump or swelling in the abdomen, as this is where the cancer commonly starts,” as per the NHS. “This is easy to miss in a young child. This lump can cause constipation and difficulty passing urine, as well as general pain and discomfort.”
Other signs include:
- A lump in the neck
- Bone pain and difficulty walking, if the bones are affected
- Numbness, weakness or loss of movement in the child’s lower body, if the cancer has affected the spinal cord
- Pale skin, bruising, bleeding and frequent infections, if the cancer has affected the bone marrow
- Bluish lumps in the skin and the appearance of “black eyes”