Zac Mason was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, an invasive and rapidly growing tumour and the most common malignant brain tumour in children in Australia.
Zac’s mum, Sally, says Zac has been battling brain cancer since he was just three.
“He had a number of tumours in his brain, including one on his pituitary gland too dangerous to operate on, and small tumours along the entire length of his spinal cord.
Zac had an operation to remove part of the largest tumour, but the cancer had spread. He went through several rounds of gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy, some of which was so severe he was put under general anaesthetic and life support to endure it.
The doctors said that Zac was the worst case they had seen but they are constantly being impressed by his progress,” said Sally.
Thankfully Zac’s cancer is now in remission but Sally and Zach will have to wait until 2018 – five years after treatment, until he gets the all clear.
Should Zac’s cancer return, Sally knows it cannot be treated with current chemotherapy or radiation as Zac was given the highest dosage possible and these methods would not work a second time.
“Unfortunately there’s a chance that the cancer will return and, if that happens we can only hope there’s an alternative treatment available by then”.
Our Paediatric Cancer Research Program (PCRP) brings researchers and clinicians together to improve outcomes for children diagnosed with cancer. Medulloblastoma is one of the key priorities of the PCRP.
Our program addresses the urgent need for researchers and clinicians to join forces to improve our understanding of paediatric cancers and accelerate the translation of these findings directly into the clinic.
Dr Jason Cain is a member of the PCRP and is investigating the triggers within a cell that lead to the development and progression of medulloblastoma, with the aim of developing targeted, effective treatment therapies.
“Zac was a very special little boy and certainly made an impression on all the researchers and clinicians who looked after him,” said Dr Cain.
“We now have access to patients like Zac to assist in the molecular subtyping and profiling of their tumours in the hope of helping the clinicians determine the optimal clinical management of these children”.
With your help, our researchers can identify the biological factors that lead to these tumours in children and work with doctors to give them the best possible care.
“It’s shocking how many kids are suffering from the same thing that you just don’t hear about. Research is imperative for all of them,” said Sally.
Any donation that you can make will help researchers at the Hudson Institute to develop new diagnosis, treatments and cures for families like Sally and Zac.
Photo: Picture: Tony Gough/Herald Sun