herald

Friday 20 July 2018

Brave Megan on way home after cancer treatment

MEGAN Malone is set to complete her cancer treatment in the US on Tuesday, a year after doctors said that she had a less than 10pc chance of survival.

Four-year-old Megan will be back in Ireland on Saturday September 3, after a year-long battle against a rare and aggressive cancer that attacked her brain and spine.

Megan's parents John and Sheila expressed their immense relief at her improved condition this week.

"Megan has five more treatments remaining. Her last treatment is scheduled for August 30," John (40) said.

"We went to the Children's museum [last] Friday and to Cape Cod on Saturday and to Franklin Zoo on Sunday and the children had great fun.



tumours

"It is very overwhelming for both of us to see Megan enjoying her surroundings again and it is really hard to hold back the tears at times.

"She is a wonderful child and we are hugely proud of her."

Megan was diagnosed with sPNET Medulloblastoma last October. The disease is so rare that only two children are diagnosed with it in Ireland every year and Megan's condition was so advanced that doctors told her parents there was nothing more they could do.

The couple refused to accept this and instead moved to the US with their four children -- Chloe (7), Dylan (6), Megan (4) and 10-month-old Tristan.

This allowed Megan to receive specialist care in New York, and radiotherapy in Boston, where doctors are using new techniques.

The extent of Megan's illness only came to light last week.

"[Last week] we met with our doctor, Dr MacDonald, and we saw, for the first time in a 3D image the extent of Megan's cancer back in October and it was overwhelming to say the least," John said.

"Another area where Megan had a lot of cancer, which we did not know about up to this point, was on a nerve in her head that controls facial expressions.

"This explains why the left side of Megan's face noticeably dropped. Another area we did not know about was the hypothalamus gland. There was a sizable tumour there.

"We will not know the effects of radiotherapy on these areas for some time."

The little girl has responded very well to her treatment so far.

There is now no tumour visible in Megan's MRI and CT scans for both her brain and spine, the two areas that were of greatest concern to her parents.

The total costs of treating the little girl from Kilnamartyra, near Macroom, Co Cork, had originally been estimated at more than $1m but has now been capped at €585,000.

hnews@herald.ie

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