A couple is hoping that intense chemotherapy treatment will save their 17-month-old son Luca after it was discovered he has a rare form of cancer.
When Luca was just three month old, his parents, Kieran Brannan and Shannan Roe, both 30, noticed a growth on their son’s face.
They didn’t worry too much at first, assuming the growth was simply part of Luca’s development.
‘He was eating and drinking fine and doing all the things babies should,’ said Kieran, from Hamilton, South Lanarkshire.
After another three months they noticed the growth was getting bigger, but an ultrasound showed nothing out of the ordinary.
‘The hospital thought it just looked like inflammation so gave him some antibiotics,’ said Kieran.
‘We took before and after pictures and three weeks later we could see it had actually gotten bigger. The hospital gave him more antibiotics but we were still really worried so I called our local GP.’
After seeing their GP, Luca’s parents were advised to take him to the Royal Hospital for Children to get an MRI scan, where they found out their son had an inflammatory myofibroblastic tumour (IMT).
Not only that, but the tumour was cancerous – and removing the tumour wasn’t an option.
‘His cancer is very rare, IMT tumours are normally benign, but Luca’s has cancer in it,’ Kieran said.
‘Because he is so young they said they would have to try to take it out as they were worried the tumour would keep growing and then so would the cancer.
‘But because the tumour runs through so many nerves and veins in his face they can’t do surgery any time soon.
‘There are too many risks and the surgery could end up affecting the nerves in his face.’
Now Kieran, a youth worker, and Shannan administer their son’s chemo at home – twice per day.
Luca is due to have the treatment for 12 months to try and shrink the tumour, but thankfully, Kieran said the turbulence hasn’t hindered Luca’s development.
Luca has started talking and has built a strong bond with his brother Leo, aged 5.
But it’s not easy for Leo, who often has to wake up to go to his grandparents during the night when Luca becomes ill.
Thankfully, things are looking hopeful: ‘Luca’s tumour is slowly shrinking but his immune system is so compromised with the chemo he is in and out of hospital a lot,’ Kieran said.
‘The plan is to give him chemo for 12 months and then take him off it for three months to see what happens – it’s not going to be a quick fix like we hoped.’
The family is now fundraising for the Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity in a bid to give back to the staff who have helped Luca, with more than £6,000 raised so far.
Do you have a story to share?
Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.