The Cork toddler who has been undergoing life-saving treatment in New York for a rare brain tumor is now required to travel to Boston for additional radiotherapy.
Irish doctors offered little hope for four-year-old Megan Malone when she was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor last October. But her family travelled to the U.S. in December to begin her life-saving treatment at New York’s Presbyterian Children’s Hospital.
Doctors were very satisfied with Megan’s progress but the latest results require the youngster to travel to Boston for radiotherapy treatment over a six-week period.
Megan’s parents John and Shelia Malone are confident that she will be able to return to Ireland once she completes treatment at the end of August.
Megan’s father John told the Irish Examiner: "The doctors feel themselves that there may be no cancer left, at least from what they can see. The brain has been clear for the last two MRI’s which is great news but there is still some uncertainty in the fact they still see a sort of spaghetti string down the spine and while they feel that it is cancer, it is probably dead cancer because it was also present in the last scan.
"They reckon though there is no way that would have remained alive with the high-dose chemo she received over a two-month period.
"Because of that uncertainty and because the doctors think there may be some cancer at cellular level that could cause a recurrence, they feel it would be prudent to send Megan to Boston for proton beam radiation therapy which is what we have now agreed to do.
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"The doctors feel there may be a strong argument for giving a preventative dose of radiotherapy to the brain to basically prevent it (cancer) from coming back."
Doctors have warned that the radiation treatment could affect Megan’s IQ by 10-15 percent, but the Malone family is confident that the treatment is their daughters best chance at survival.
"My own gut feeling is that Megan is cancer-free right now but because there is a 30%-80% chance of this cancer coming back, proton beam radiation, from what I know about it, is the best option for her. It is designed to limit the amount of damage to neighboring cells but any radiation to a 4-year-old brain is going to have a negative effect so to try and limit the amount of radiation to the brain is the key now.
"When this treatment is finished, Megan should be able to fly home to Ireland directly from Boston and we hope we can do that at the end of August or early September."