Pregnant teen with a rare brain tumor given months to live

A 17-year-old pregnant woman fights for her life and the life of her baby after she was given between three and nine months of life due to a rare and incurable brain tumor.

Dana Scatton, of Pennsylvania, was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (or DIPG) last week and is expected to give birth to a girl in February.

Doctors press for delivery of the baby within three weeks so that Scatton can begin radiation therapy immediately, which could prolong his life. nine months and decrease the risk of complications of the baby. Without treatment, doctors have given him two or three months to live.

DIPG only affects about 300 children each year and is most commonly found in children under the age of 10, which makes the case of Scatton extremely rare.

The disease has less than one percent chance of survival and 90 percent of patients die within 18 months after diagnosis. No one has been cured.

Scatton told Daily Mail Online that she and her family are still consulting with doctors to determine the best treatment to prolong her life and save the baby, something the teenager said would be a Christmas miracle. [19659002] Scatton told Daily Mail Online began experiencing difficulty speaking last month.

"I noticed that it took me a bit to swallow, then walking became more difficult and it was even difficult to talk," Scatton said.

She said things got worse this month. When she went to take the bus to school, her legs began to feel loose, leaving her unable to walk properly.

At first, the university student thought that it could only be the stress of pregnancy and school.

"I thought it could be the way the baby was sitting on the nerves," he added.

Less than two weeks after the initial symptoms, Scatton told his doctor what he was experiencing during a routine check-up visit to control the baby.

She was in the emergency room the next day, where she had a cat scanner and an MRI, which found a large tumor at the base of her brain.

Within a few hours of the MRI, the doctors gave the diagnosis and the prognosis.

Scatton said that The first thing that went through his mind when he heard the diagnosis was: "Will my baby be okay?"

His mother Lenore, 51, had a similar thought: "Am I going to lose my baby?" [19659002] The prognosis is bleak.

Because Scatton is pregnant, there have been doubts about the beginning of the radiation that c Cancer rarely affects a growing baby directly, but having cancer during pregnancy can be complicated for the mother and the child because of the aggressive treatments.

Radiation can harm the fetus in every trimester. so doctors usually avoid using it during pregnancy.

The therapy uses high-energy x-rays to destroy cancer cells. The risks to the baby depend on the radiation dose and the area of ​​the body being treated.

The fetus has a higher risk of conbad defects, such as stunted growth, deformities, and abnormal brain function due to exposure to radiation during the first trimester. [19659002] However, since the treatment would be on Dana's head and away from her pregnant belly, doctors predict a low risk of radiation affecting the fetus.

In the week since diagnosis, the family has been consulting physicians at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and St. Jude's Children's Hospital.

They are contemplating waiting another three weeks for the fetus to reach 34 weeks of gestation before having a cesarean section to ensure the baby's health.

With the symptoms of Scatton getting worse every day, doctors do not recommend waiting any longer.

The teenager, who danced for 13 years and played soccer and basketball, now has difficulty with daily tasks.

"I can not do so much for myself. I'm no longer able to put on my pants without probably falling down," said Scatton.

Although the prognosis is devastating, she remains hopeful. "I'm not going to continue what they say, I'm waiting for a miracle," he added.

  Dana is seven months pregnant and will give birth in February, but doctors plan to induce labor in three weeks due to her condition. Photo / GoFundMe
Dana is seven months pregnant and will give birth in February, but doctors plan to induce labor in three weeks because of her condition. Photo / GoFundMe

DIPG is a cancerous tumor that originates in the brainstem, the part of the brain just above the back of the neck and connected to the spine.

The tumor is inoperable and surgery to obtain a biopsy is unsafe due to its location.

The brainstem controls breathing, heart rate, and the nerves and muscles that allow us to see, hear, walk, talk, and eat.

Most diagnoses occur in patients between 5 and 10 years of age.

It is unknown what causes the tumor and doctors do not believe that the pregnancy had an effect on the diagnosis.

Tumor symptoms include lack of facial control, headaches, weakness, seizures, balance problems and ultimately death.

"Sometimes it's harder to walk and it's strenuous because my muscles always work," Scatton said.

Radiation is the most common form of treatment to kill cancer cells and prevent tumors from growing.

The treatment provides a temporary cure for life extension, but does not completely release the body from the disease.

The news of Dana's diagnosis has been devastating for her and her family, according to Lenore.

She said: "We are somewhat dazed". . Your mind is going one kilometer per minute and it's hard to absorb the things they tell you in the hospital. "

Lenore and Scatton's father, Robert, took a break from his work at Amazon and a YMCA to take care of his daughter-time.

Scatton is the youngest of nine children.

The support of family and friends has been overwhelming and Lenore said that since JJ de Dana took Facebook and made a GoFundMe for medical expenses, people from all over The world has sent their prayers and support.

Scatton and her boyfriend Tyler, 21, chose the name of Aries for their daughter, who will remain in Lenore's care while Scatton receives treatment.

Scatton said: "Alone I want to be a wonderful mother. "

Lenore said she believes a miracle awaits her daughter because her birth was already a miracle.

While Lenore was pregnant with twins, she aborted one and the doctors told her that Scatton would soon I would follow it.

But for Two & # 39; It's amazing that it exceeded expectations.

Now the family hopes to be able to beat the odds one more time.

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