End of treatment is in sight for tot with cancer

A young girl who travelled all the way to America to have a life-saving cancer treatment has returned home.

Thursday, 8th December 2016, 10:11 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 1:36 pm
Victoria Calland

Three-year-old Victoria Calland flew to the US with her mum Jennifer in September to have proton-beam therapy after she was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare from of childhood cancer.

The youngster, who lives in Wigan with her mum, dad Christopher and big brother Arthur, will start what is hoped will be her last round of chemotherapy next week.

Jennifer said: “Victoria’s due back in hospital on December 12 for what we hope will be her last round of chemo.

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“Hopefully she’ll be able to ring the End of Treatment bell on the ward and besides finishing scans and getting her portacath out, hopefully we can turn our backs on this awful year.

“I’ve been carefully monitoring her as this last round of chemo back in the UK is the full battery of all three chemo drugs (while in the US, she only had two of the three drugs as with the combination of radiotherapy, it would have been too toxic).

“Her hair started growing back but I half expect that she’ll lose her hair again.”

Victoria was diagnosed in June after a tumour was discovered in her bile duct, and despite undergoing an operation to remove, cancer cells were still found to be present in the cells around where it had been.

But hopefully, Victoria is nearing the end of the gruelling six months of treatment she has undergone since and just in time for Christmas.

“We have our fingers crossed that her final scans will come out clean and that we got this cancer beat because what makes rhabdo so monstrous is that its known for returning, often with a vengeance,” Jennifer said.

“While ‘cure’ isn’t unheard of with rhabdomyosarcoma with the first treatment, I think we’ve done everything we can to stack the deck in Victoria’s favour.

“We got lucky it started somewhere that caused problems right away so that the tumour didn’t have enough time to grow to the point of metastasizing and spreading.

“We’ll still remain vigilant against its return and also for monitoring Victoria for signs of life long side effects associated with her treatment.

“I’ve asked for a genetics referral as there is a specific genetic mutation often associated with this type of cancer and I’ll have a better feel for the chance of relapse should Victoria come up positive for this mutation.

“Meantime, Victoria starts back at preschool part time on the week starting January 9.

“I’ll be doing some additional training of staff there so that they can best help look after her while she is in their care.