Teenage Cancer Patient Gets a Special Honor

According to a story from The Spectator, Madeline Pitts, who has two forms of terminal cancer, will have June 9th be dubbed “Maddie Day” in her honor.

She is thirteen years old. On that day, an event was held to commemorate her role as a pediatric cancer advocate. Madeline’s passion as a cancer advocate began years before she was initially diagnosed in 2016. Her sister Elizabeth had one of the same types of cancer that Madeline has now.

She passed away in 2010. Madeline was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which was what Elizabeth had. Not long afterwards, she was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a form of cancer that affects lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. Symptoms include fever, infection, weakness, fatigue, anemia, dizziness, vomiting, bruising, loss of weight and appetite, swelling, testicular enlargement, and bone pain. In children overall five year survival is 90 percent, but only 35 percent for older patients. Prognosis varies depending on a variety of different aspects of the case. To learn more about acute lymphoblastic leukemia, click here.

Glioblastoma is a type of aggressive, malignant brain cancer. It commonly begins in the mid 60s, but can rarely occur in people that are much younger. Symptoms of glioblastoma include changes to mood and personality, memory loss, seizures, nausea, and vomiting. This type of cancer frequently recurs even with the most powerful treatments available. Survival rate is poor; only three to five percent survive five years. To learn more about glioblastoma, click here.

Madeline has been given access to an experimental treatment for glioblastoma that involves a device known as an Optune. She must shave her head continuously to use it. The machine uses several transmitters to send electrical signals that disrupt the growth of the tumor. The Optune is used in conjunction with chemotherapy in order to enhance its effectiveness.

Despite this treatment, doctors have only given her weeks or months to live. The event on June 9th helped cross out some of the goals on Madeline’s bucket list, which includes getting her license, carving her name in a tree, and swimming with manatees. Despite the fact that she may not have much time left, Madeline says that each new day is the best one of her life.

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