At three months old, Emily’s mouth hurt. Her first tooth started coming in. Her parents immediately knew that something was wrong. Three months later, the family received dire news about Emily. She had been diagnosed with an unusual and rare form of cancer-like condition called Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis. Initially, Emily had some malformed teeth removed and a biopsy was performed in order to determine the cause. This story was originally reported at northernstar.com.au.
For the next eight years of her life, Emily would have to endure treatment for the condition. In Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH), an excessive number of Langerhans cells are produced. They come from bone marrow and can migrant from the skin to lymph nodes. The condition produces an inflammatory response from the body, such as fever, unexplained weight loss, and fatigue. Bones often swell painfully, with the skull commonly being affected. A skin rash is also common, especially on the scalp. The liver, lymph nodes, and spleen may also be enlarged. Shortness of breath and a chronic cough are also possible. The manner in which the disease is treated depends on the form and extent of the disease. To learn more about the disease, click here.
For Emily, chemotherapy was a viable option due to the similarities that the disease shares with cancer. She endured an entire year of treatment, but nine months later, the condition relapsed. This resulted in two more years of chemotherapy for Emily. After this treatment, she was free of LCH for two years. Then, in 2016, the disease returned as a lesion in her skull. This time, the tumor was removed. Currently, Emily is living a healthy life without any trace of LCH. For Emily’s parents, the diagnosis was a major blow. Her mother Tania says that watching her daughter endure years of chemotherapy treatment was agonizing.