Mumbai: After battling Burkitt Lymphoma for more than six months, a five-year-old boy has successfully defeated the cancer and is now leading a normal life. The rare condition is a form of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, in which cancer starts in immune cells called B-lymphocytes.
In 2022, the child and his family had initially visited a local doctor with complaints of swelling on the right side of the neck. In the beginning, the swelling was pea-sized, however within two months, it increased dramatically. The swelling had also appeared on the left side of his neck, which also caused him to snore at night. As a result of these symptoms, a biopsy was undertaken, which revealed that the child had Burkitt Lymphoma, which is a type of blood cancer of the lymph nodes.
The boy's family took him to Fortis Hospital, Mulund, in December last year where an additional CT scan was performed, which showed that the tumour was present in the child's tonsils, neck and armpits. Subsequent tests also revealed that the patient was at an early stage of cancer and chemotherapy has a high success rate in such cases.
Child underwent 6 rounds of chemotherapy without any complications
Dr Juhi Shah, Hospital's Paediatric Medical Oncologist, said, “Since the patient was very young, a chemo port had to be inserted into his body to help administer chemotherapy easily and minimise skin pricks. He was also administered intrathecal chemotherapy (injections in spinal fluid), which protects the brain from cancer. In the next six months, the boy underwent six rounds of chemotherapy without any complications. In fact, after only two cycles of treatment, his scan showed no signs of the disease. He underwent additional four sessions to ensure that the disease does not relapse.”
Chemotherapy is a very effective treatment process against Burkitt Lymphoma and offers a very high cure rate, close to 90-100%. However, to help children with this condition, early diagnosis and prompt treatment was important. Also, as this patient has a non-identical twin sibling, genetic counselling and active surveillance are essential as the risk of the other twin developing cancer is around 35%, she added.
Kiran Bajaj, the boy's mother, said, “I have twins, a boy and a girl. When my kid was diagnosed with Burkitt Lymphoma, it was a very tough period for the entire family. However, the doctors assured me that after a few rounds of chemotherapy, my son's condition would improve, which is exactly what happened. He completed his treatment in May 2023 and was declared cancer-free.”
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