According to a story from dailymail.co.uk, the story of Cayla Jones is an example of how a serious rare diagnosis can suddenly strike out of nowhere, often from symptoms that can be easily dismissed as minor. For several nights in a row, young Cayla complained to parents Brad Jones and Enya Gooding about her stomach hurting. Initially, her parents assumed that the girl was simply trying to find an excuse to stay up later. However, after a couple of doctor’s visits, Cayla was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare cancer.
Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that appears in nerve tissue. Children are more frequently affected than adults. The direct cause of neuroblastoma is not known in most cases; in a small number of patients, an inherited mutation ALK gene has been implicated, but this only explains around two percent of cases at the most. Symptoms of neuroblastoma include a lump in the affected area which may be blue in color, bone and joint pain, loss of appetite, fatigue, and fever. Other symptoms vary depending on where the tumor is located; it typically originates in the adrenal glands but can also appear on the spine, neck, abdomen, or chest. Treatment approaches include immunotherapy, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery, and stem cell transplant. Outcomes vary considerably; the five year survival rate is 68 percent for patients between age one and fourteen. To learn more about neuroblastoma, click here.
Originally doctors thought that Cayla may have had a urinary tract infection, but a week long course of antibiotics saw now improvement. The next visit, doctors discovered an unusual lump in Cayla’s abdomen.
The diagnosis of advanced, stage four neuroblastoma undeniably came as a terrible shock for Brad and Enya.
“I just tried to pull myself together and put a brave face on for Cayla so as not to scare her.” – Enya Gooding
The news came during July of last year, and since then Cayla has underwent surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy to combat the disease, which had spread from her stomach to her neck and throat. So far, the treatment appears to be working, with her cancer shrinking greatly in size.
Now her parents are trying to raise £200,000 so that they can travel with Cayla to the US, where they hope to get Cayla a cancer “vaccine” that will reduce the chances of the neuroblastoma coming back after remission. To support Cayla’s treatment, click here.