The phrase “anyone can get cancer” is true, but when we find out a child has been diagnosed, it can feel even more jarring. And when that child is diagnosed with breast cancer, it can feel… almost surreal. Doesn’t that happen just to adults, not little girls?
In October of 2015, Chrissy Turner found a lump in her right breast, at only 8 years old. She went to her parents, and they immediately took her to the doctor. They were told that most lumps turn out to be benign, but after testing, little Chrissy was diagnosed with secretory breast carcinoma. It’s the rarest form of breast cancer, only occurring in 0.15% of cancer patients, and can occur at any age.
Chrissy had a mastectomy in early December, 2015, to remove her right breast and lymph nodes. She needed neither chemo nor radiation, and her recovery went well. In fall of 2016, almost a year after her diagnosis, Chrissy found a new growth on the other side of her chest and the family immediately went to the doctor again. However, her doctors assured her and her parents that the change was normal; Chrissy was developing as all young girls start to do.
Chrissy will continue to see her doctor every three months since the recurrence rate for secretory breast carcinoma is high. As long as she remains in the clear, she will start getting reconstructive surgeries in her teens.
Her parents Annette and Troy have both fought cancer themselves. Annette was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2000, shortly after Chrissy’s older sister was born. They caught it early enough that Annette was able to have a lumpectomy without any additional treatment. Her husband Troy was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2008, and it was caught at stage 3. In 2011, it came back, but the cancer was growing too slowly to be able to treat. So Troy has been in a “wait and see” stage ever since, going in every three months for full blood work and a consult with his doctor.
Learn more about Chrissy’s journey in this video. And at 1:45, keep watching for some tips about what worried parents should look out for. (But please remember that this disease is incredibly rare and generally has a good prognosis!)
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