Schoolboy’s symptoms that were dismissed as ‘belly bug’ turned out to be a tumor the size of a golf ball
Isaiah Jarrett was only eight years old when his symptoms were thought to be a stomach bug. His constant bouts of illness were eventually diagnosed as an aggressive form of brain cancer that claimed his life in 2022. His mother hopes that shedding light on the tragedy will help raise awareness of the deadly condition and its signs.
Isaiah was originally thought to have had some form of gastroenteritis after he began bouts of aggressive vomiting.
After he vomited blood, suffered from neck stiffness and headaches, his mother demanded answers.
Isaiah underwent a series of tests at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where a CT scan revealed a golf ball-sized tumor in his brain, diagnosed as medulloblastoma.
Subsequent courses of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, unfortunately, could not reverse the disease, and on July 20, 2022, the student died.
READ MORE: New mom with brain tumor ‘races against time’ to keep memories alive
Medulloblastoma is one of the most aggressive brain tumors as it is known to be resistant to various treatments.
In many cases, the disease is able to withstand a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, killing most affected children within three years of diagnosis.
Speaking of the tragic event, his mother, Dena Allen, said: “My mind went blank and I fell to my knees.
“I thought it must have something to do with his stomach, never in a million years did I expect to be told that my little boy had a brain tumor.
“After his first operation on December 20, I never heard Isaiah’s voice again. He eventually learned to communicate through gestures and mumbling.
“Everything that could go wrong, went wrong.”
Due to the location of the tumor in the brain, Isaiah lost his speech and was forced to spend five weeks in intensive care, where he underwent a tracheostomy.
Although he underwent chemotherapy and radiation therapy, further scans showed that the tumor had spread to the brain and spine.
READ ALSO: Mom who heard a clicking sound was diagnosed with a “brutal” brain tumor
Dena, 36, added: “Isaiah suffered from swelling and fluid buildup, which meant he had a total of seven surgeries, all of which I was told could kill him.
“You are faced with an impossible decision as a parent who wants the best for their child.”
Intracranial tumors are the ninth most common male death in the UK, accounting for approximately 3,100 deaths each year.
Although they tend to be more common in adults, people of all ages can be affected.
More than 9,000 diagnoses are made in the UK each year, half of which are benign and half malignant.
This number does not include secondary brain tumors, which are diagnosed when tumors that originated elsewhere in the body have spread to the brain.
During diagnosis, the tumor will be graded on a scale of one to four, depending on the behavior of the cancer.
This will be determined by factors such as how fast they grow or how likely they are to return after treatment, the NHS explains.
Symptoms will vary depending on the exact location of the tumor in the brain, but in general, patients report persistent headaches, seizures, mental and behavioral changes, and progressive weakness.
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