Doctors can’t explain it.
An 11-year-old girl from Texas, who was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour in June, is now cancer-free. According to KYUE, an ABC affiliate, Roxli Doss had an “inoperable” brain tumour over the summer called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG).
“It is very rare, but when we see it, it is a devastating disease,” Dr. Virginia Harrod with Dell Children’s Medical Center told the broadcaster.
“You have decreased ability to swallow, sometimes vision loss, decreased ability to talk, eventually difficulty with breathing.”
But doctors are unsure how the tumour disappeared.
WATCH: Girl’s brain tumour disappears, puzzling doctors
According to Harrod, Doss went through weeks of radiation, even though there is no cure for DIPG. Her family held a benefit event in August to raise awareness and friends launched a GoFundMe page to gather donations for medical bills.
In September, Doss went for an MRI, and according to a Facebook page on her behalf, the scan results were positive.
In a statement to Global News, Harrod said the hospital will continue to monitor Doss on a regular basis.
“I’m am beyond thrilled with Roxli’s remarkable recovery despite the great odds she faced,” she said. “Roxli has gone through numerous tests and the tumour is no longer detectable. We are cautiously optimistic and will continue to monitor her on a regular basis along with the joy of celebrating in her recovery.”
Her parents Gena and Scott never thought that months later, their daughter would be cancer-free — all they wanted was a miracle.
“And we got it,” Gena told KVUE. “Praise God we did,” Scott continued. “We didn’t know how long she would be healthy and, look at her, she’s just doing awesome.”
What is DIPG?
DIPG are highly aggressive brain tumours that are difficult to treat found at the base of the brain, the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Hospital noted.
“They are glial tumours, meaning they arise from the brain’s glial tissue — tissue made up of cells that help support and protect the brain’s neurons,” experts explained.
“These tumours are found in an area of the brainstem (the lowest, stem-like part of the brain) called the pons, which controls many of the body’s most vital functions such as breathing, blood pressure and heart rate.”
DIPG accounts for 10 per cent of all childhood central nervous system tumours in the U.S., and in Canada, about 30 children are diagnosed every year, according to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. Most children are diagnosed between the ages of five and nine.
Treatment options may include radiation therapy or experimental chemotherapy, depending on several factors. This could include the child’s age, overall health, medical history, as well as the type, location and size of the tumour.
“Unfortunately, complete surgical removal is not an option in the treatment of these tumours because of their location in the brainstem. Surgery in this part of the brain can cause severe neurological damage and affect the body’s most vital functions; only biopsies can be performed safely,” experts noted.