Boy, 4, beats aggressive cancer brain tumor that affects only 30 American children a year

When Lennox Allen was two years old, he started vomiting almost every morning.

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His parents, Carly and Greg, didn't worry at first because his older brother, Austin, had experienced similar episodes when he was younger, looked up to a gag reflex and was resolved with a simple acid blocker.

But the case of Lennox was different. He became more listless, walked unsteadily, and finally decided to take him to the emergency department in Gainesville, Florida.

A CT scan in June 2017 revealed that the toddler had a mass in his brain and a test a few days later revealed that it was cancer.

He was diagnosed with an atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (ATRT), a rare brain cancer that affects only 30 American children each year.

After various surgical procedures, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, Lennox is now cancer-free.

Lennox Allen (photo), from Gainesville, Florida, started vomiting almost every morning when he was two years old.

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Lennox Allen (photo), from Gainesville, Florida, started vomiting almost every morning when he was two years old.

Initially, his parents did not worry because his older brother had similar episodes when he was younger. Pictured: Lennox

Initially, his parents did not worry because his older brother had similar episodes when he was younger. Pictured: Lennox

But when Lennox (pictured, with his mother) began to become more listless and walked unsteadily, they brought him to the emergency room.

But when Lennox (pictured, with his mother) began to become more listless and walked unsteadily, they brought him to the emergency room.

Initially, his parents did not worry because his older brother had similar episodes when he was younger. But when Lennox (left and right, with his mother) started to act more listlessly and ran unsteadily, they brought him to the emergency room.

Lennox & # 39; s mother, Carly, told DailyMail.com that it soon became clear that Lennox & # 39; s vomiting was abnormal.

He would Grab the back of his head just before he vomit and he would go hungry immediately afterwards.

& # 39; ONEWhen he vomits, he says, "Mom, I'm hungry, I want to eat cereals," said Carly. & # 39; And I thought, "No one wants to eat after they've vomited."

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Carly took Lennox to the pediatrician, where he was treated gastrointestinally and an acid blocker was prescribed.

But his father, Gary, a family medicine resident, was not convinced and brought him to the emergency department of the University of Florida Shands Pediatric Emergency Room

The doctor on call performed a CT scan that confirmed a mass on the brainstem.

A few days later – just before July 4 – the tumor was diagnosed as ATRT.

ATRT is a rare and fast-growing cancer in which tumors grow in the brain and spinal cord.

In July 2017, Lennox was diagnosed with atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors, a rare brain cancer that affects only 30 American children each year. Pictured: Lennox in the hospital
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In July 2017, Lennox was diagnosed with atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors, a rare brain cancer that affects only 30 American children each year. Pictured: Lennox in the hospital

In July 2017, Lennox was diagnosed with atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors, a rare brain cancer that affects only 30 American children each year. Pictured: Lennox in the hospital

Lennox (photo) has undergone surgery, in which 100 percent of the tumor was resected

Lennox (photo) has undergone surgery, in which 100 percent of the tumor was resected

He then underwent five chemotherapy treatments. Pictured: Lennoz meets his little brother, Darren

He then underwent five chemotherapy treatments. Pictured: Lennoz meets his little brother, Darren

Lennox (left and right, with his baby brother) was operated on, with 100 percent of the tumor resected. He then underwent five chemotherapy treatments.

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It is most caused by mutations in a gene called SMARCB1, which makes proteins that normally stop tumor growth.

Symptoms include headache, loss of balance, sudden or abnormally rapid head growth, nausea and vomiting.

ATRTs represent only one to two percent of brain tumors in children, according to the Dana-Farber / Boston Children's Hospital.

This means that only about 30 children are diagnosed with this cancer every year.

& # 39; The tumor was devastating because I knew it would involve surgery and a long process, but there was hope that it would be benign, & # 39; said Carly.

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& # 39; When we found out it was the worst kind you could have, it was devastating. There were many nights that I just cried. I thought I'd lose my son. & # 39;

Add to the stress of the family: Carly was also pregnant with the third child of the couple.

A few days later, Lennox underwent surgery, during which pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Lance Governale, made an effort to treat the entire tumor.

The next steps were chemotherapy and radiation because ATRT & # 39; s have a high risk of recurrence, within two to three years after treatment completion, according to one study.

After chemotherapy, Lennox received 28 radiation doses to prevent the recurrence of the cancer. Pictured: Lennox who is sleeping in the hospital with his father

After chemotherapy, Lennox received 28 radiation doses to prevent the recurrence of the cancer. Pictured: Lennox who is sleeping in the hospital with his father

After chemotherapy, Lennox received 28 radiation doses to prevent the recurrence of the cancer. Pictured: Lennox who is sleeping in the hospital with his father

Lennox is now cancer free and now only needs to be checked and scanned regularly> Pictured: Lennox (center) with his brothers Darren, 18 months (left) and Austin, seven (right)

Lennox is now cancer free and now only needs to be checked and scanned regularly> Pictured: Lennox (center) with his brothers Darren, 18 months (left) and Austin, seven (right)

Lennox is now cancer free and now only needs to be checked and scanned regularly> Pictured: Lennox (center) with his brothers Darren, 18 months (left) and Austin, seven (right)

Lennox had five chemotherapy treatments of three weeks each, which according to Carly from a few & # 39; dark days & # 39; existed.

& # 39; He had vomiting and a fever, and if you are an immune compromise, you cannot leave the room, & # 39; she said.

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& # 39; If a two-year-old could become depressed … he had moments. But he was still smiling. & # 39;

It was during this treatment period that Carly gave birth to the Allens' youngest son, Darren – luckily without complications.

& # 39; It was difficult to arrange my care and Lennox's care, & # 39; she said. & # 39; Mine sat in a back seat and that is fine. & # 39;

After chemotherapy, the Allens were sent to the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute in Jacksonville, where Lennox underwent 28 doses of radiation between December 2017 and February 2018.

Today Lennox is in remission and his check-ups have shown & # 39; no evidence of the disease & # 39 ;.

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Carly says he is a typical four-year-old who loves school, takes swimming lessons, and plays with his two brothers.

She adds that by sharing his story, she hopes it can contribute to more money and attention for childhood cancer.

& # 39; I don't think people like to think that children get sick, & # 39; said Carly. & # 39; But not everyone can tell the same story that I tell. & # 39;

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