Youth with cancer

There are few situations that may seem to us more unfair than having cancer in youth or childhood. At these ages, deaths are more frequent due to causes such as accidents or suicide, and these situations, in general, cause us despair and misunderstanding.

Unfortunately, a couple of weeks ago, the case of Alex Lequio has jumped to the media. The 27-year-old had Ewing's sarcoma.This is a rare malignant tumor that affects about three people per million inhabitants and generally appears in the bones and has the ability to spread to other areas of the body in form of metastasis. After 2 years of hard fight against cancer in hospital centers in the USA. USA and nationals, finally passed away.

The diagnosis

The most frequent tumors at these ages they are usually malignantThe most frequent are: sarcomas, lymphomas, malignant tumors of the nervous system, leukemias and melanomas, embryonal tumors, among many others. Although the types vary between childhood and youth. It seems that the biology of tumors, at these ages it could be different from adults, being a subject in which an intense investigation is being carried out.

Malignant tumors are more aggressive and evolve faster in young people

Symptoms at these ages can be very nonspecific and different from those of adults. Some examples that may put us under suspicion are unexplained weight loss, excessive tiredness, the appearance of a lump or a wound that does not heal, frequent bleeding, etc. Fortunately, the accuracy of the diagnostic media and also their availability has improved greatly in recent times. The use of TAC, NMR or PET, together with study of tumor markers, etc. has allowed carry out earlier extension diagnoses, which is crucial in this type of disease. Most of the time, a biopsy will be necessary to know the type of tumor.

Miriam's smile

In general, throughout our geography there are specialized teams for this type of tumor in children and young people. I have been a thoracic surgeon in one of them that was a national reference until the division of health powers between the autonomous communities. Many patients continue to refer us from all over, but it comes to mind Miriam's case. He also suffered from metastatic Ewing sarcoma, such as Álex Lequio Jr. The tumor was diagnosed at 14 years old and he died 11 years later, at 25, after having 6 relapses. I operated on the patient 5 times.

Despite his situation, never lost his smile and founded an association to help people in the same situation. In addition, she wrote on her blog about her coexistence with the disease to help the thousands of readers who followed her and studied a university career. We will never forget Miriam.

Regarding the treatment, varies according to the type of tumor and your doctors will advise you on the most suitable one. Malignant tumors are generally more aggressive and evolve faster compared to older people. In those who are susceptible to surgical treatment to remove all the disease, in general, this will be the best option. Other times it is used chemotherapy, immunotherapy or radiation therapy to try to reduce or control the disease. We must say that the prognosis of these tumors has improved in recent years with new therapies.

Treatments in Spain

Most treatments for these diseases are available in our country and there are also clinical trials with investigational therapies. Many times, in despair, we can think that what is done in other countries is better than what we have in ours and this is not usually the case. Another topic is clinical trials. If they propose one to you, Find out what benefits it can offer you: Will it cure you? How much longer will it offer you and with what quality? What are the side effects or complications, will you require hospitalization? You may appreciate that it is better to spend the last few days at home with your family, keep that in mind.

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