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Date: 2020-06-02 | Location: Chennai

The Vietnamese-origin boy was diagnosed with a Grade IV tumour, medulloblastoma, in February in Singapore.

An eight-year-old boy from Singapore, diagnosed with brain tumour, was successfully treated at the Apollo Proton Cancer Care Centre, doctors said.

Like other cancer patients, brain tumour patients can be at an increased risk of COVID-19 infection due to their immunocompromised state caused by the tumour and treatments given to them.

The Vietnamese-origin boy was diagnosed with a Grade IV tumour, medulloblastoma, in February in Singapore. On February 2, the Vietnamese-origin patient, experienced severe head ache and vomiting. Doctors in Singapore did an MRI scan which revealed a malignant tumour in the lower part of his brain.

The patient underwent surgery to remove the tumour but unless it was complemented with irradiation and chemotherapy the tumour could return, affecting the child’s spinal cord, said Rakesh Jalali, Medical Director of Apollo Proton Cancer Centre (APCC).

Surgery was just one part of the treatment, the doctor explained. The outcome of the treatment depended on the amount of residual tumour in the brain. Since the microscopic cells from the medulloblastoma tend to circulate in the cerebrospinal fluid, the entire spinal axis needed to be given radiation therapy.

Proton beam therapy, which targets only the malignant cells is currently the most sophisticated form of radiation therapy and the treatment of choice for such brain tumours, he added. Dr. Jalali received a request from the boy’s doctors in Singapore, following which the patient travelled to the city with his mother and grandfather in mid-February.

After being cleared by infectious disease experts and observing the mandatory week-long quarantine due to COVID 19, the child underwent MRI and simulation for radiotherapy. Initially, he needed sedation during therapy that was discontinued after a week when he got acclimatis

He completed the entire 31 sessions of therapy in the first week of April and is now waiting for international air travel to resume. The family wished to stay back in APCC for response evaluation and adjuvant chemotherapy. The post-treatment MRI on April 30 showed that there was complete response to the treatment, Dr. Jalali said. The boy was now completely cured of the tumour, the specialist added.

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