Girl Gets Her Cheekbone Removed After Vacation in Egypt
When the Payton family took a vacation to Egypt, they experienced many various bug bites from unknown sources. Because of the many bites, Tracey Payton did not worry when she noticed a small bump on the face of her eight year old daughter, Emma. Once the family got back from Egypt, Tracey started to feel concerned when the reddened bump remained. She did not realize that her daughter had a rare cancer and she needs to get her cheekbone removed.
After a quick visit to the family doctor, Emma was originally diagnosed with a blocked salivary gland. The treatments did not work and the bump continued to grow. Tracey said that it felt like a hard little lump, but did not seem to hurt Emma. Eventually, an MRI test showed that Emma actually had a very rare type of cancer. Emma was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma which is a type of cancer that occurs in the soft tissues of the body.
The tumor was 3 centimeters wide, and it wrapped around the side of Emma’s cheekbone. To get rid of the tumor, Emma had to have a nine hour long surgery. Some of her cheekbone was removed, and the area was repaired with a bone graft from her neck. Doctors then recommended that Emma get proton beam therapy to kill any remaining cancer. This type of radiation is not available in the United Kingdom. The Paytons had to leave their home and go to Oklahoma to get this treatment for Emma.
Emma still has a scar, but she is now cancer free. Because her family could not afford the expensive medical treatment in Oklahoma, charitable organizations paid for her treatment. Emma is now a healthy and happy 10 year old. It was scary for her family to watch Emma struggle, but they are relieved that she is cancer free now. After fighting cancer for a while, she is glad to be back at school. Tracey says that Emma “is so active and just loves life.”
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Though Emma’s type of cancer is rare, it most commonly affects children under the age of 10. Less than 60 children in the United Kingdom get it each year. This type of cancer happens in soft tissues like muscles, tendons, cartilages, and bones. The most common locations for a rhabdomyosarcoma to grow are the head, neck, or genitals. It can also grow in the arms, legs, abdomen, or chest. It is typically treated with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
Emma was lucky to be diagnosed with the cancer so quickly. Since it starts out looking like a small bump, it often goes undiagnosed for a while. If left untreated, rhabdomyosarcomas can spread throughout the body, harming other tissues. If it is dealt with quickly, there is a better chance of the child surviving a rhabdomyosarcoma. The first warning sign of rhabdomyosarcoma is normally a bump like the one Emma had. Depending on the location of the cancer, symptoms include headaches, bulging eyes, bloody urine, nosebleeds, or difficulty with bowel movements.
Since it mostly happens to younger children, it is important for parents to closely monitor the health of their children. Any unusual bumps or other symptoms should be checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. A fast diagnosis and prompt treatment can make a huge difference and save a child’s life.