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Successful cancer treatment were lifesaving for Omaha resident

OMAHA, Nebraska – Grace Loftus and her parents sought answers regarding her frequent and painful headaches last year.

They knew something was awry for months. In October, they received devastating news. Cancer. Medulloblastoma.

“Of course, this is not the diagnosis anyone desires. But I’m grateful that we were able to discover it out in a timely manner and receive the necessary treatment,” said Brandon Weeks, Grace’s father.

Doctors removed the brain tumor from her. In a matter of months, 10-year-old Grace also underwent many rounds of radiation and chemotherapy. However, these treatments are physically taxing.

“At present, we employ chemotherapy and radiation, which eliminate anything that is rapidly expanding. Consequently, this destroys the cancer cells, but it also kills other necessary elements of the body. So this explains why children lose their hair. Dr. Jill Beck, division chief of oncology at Children’s Hospital, remarked, “They have problems with blood counts and other organ impacts.”

Grace had fevers and nausea as negative effects.

She said, “I vomited up a great deal.”

She also disliked the chemotherapy procedure.

“I simply disliked being touched. And I dislike having the tubes removed or touched by others,” she stated.

Grace no longer exhibits any symptoms of the disorder, and it is hoped that children in the future will not have the same negative effects she suffered.

Currently, Children’s Hospital and UNMC are collaborating on studies that could facilitate therapy.

Dr. Beck stated, “We are trying very hard to identify the drugs that will address these disorders more directly and have fewer side effects.”

Grace’s mother, Kayleigh Weeks, opined that it would make a world of a difference if it were possible to target only the exact cells responsible for the disease.

According to the American Cancer Society, juvenile cancer survival rates have improved dramatically since the 1970s, from a five-year or longer survival rate of 58% in the 1970s to a current rate of 85%. Still, additional work remains.

Grace and her family express gratitude that she has recovered and returned to school.

“I enjoy learning new arithmetic concepts. I enjoy art class.” She stated that she also enjoys being with her buddies.

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