A two-year-old girl is battling ovarian cancer in an incredibly rare case.
McKenna ‘Kenni’ Shea Xydias was diagnosed with ovarian yolk sac tumor on February 15 after developing a 103F fever and a bloated belly.
At first, her pediatrician in Senoia, Georgia thought she had a bubble of gas in her bowels, judging by an X-ray.
But an ultrasound revealed something more sinister: a mass in her ovaries.
Her parents, Mike and Meagan Xydias, were stunned when the results of her CT and MRI scans came back: tumors scattered all over her abdomen, one near her liver, and one – a staggering 14 centimeters long – on her right ovary.
Kenni is believed to be one of the youngest to suffer from this rare type of cancer, which normally affects girls aged 10 to 30 years old.
She has had her right ovary removed, and part of her small intestine.
Painfully, as Mike and Meagan arrange chemotherapy and possibly other treatments, they also have to meet with fertility doctors to discuss Kenni’s prospects for childbearing down the line.
McKenna ‘Kenni’ Shea Xydias was diagnosed with ovarian yolk sac tumor on February 15 after developing a 103F fever and a bloated belly
Georgia-based Kenni, described as bubbly and excitable, pictured with her two older brothers
‘We try to take every day one step at a time, but having to consider how these tumors and consequential chemo will potentially effect Kenni in the long run, forces us to look at the big picture as well,’ Mike wrote on their GoFundMe page on Tuesday.
‘Not sure we’re quite ready for big picture just yet. Smaller bites can be easier to swallow.’
Speaking to GMA, he said: ‘I didn’t realize that it could happen to such a young kid.’
He added: ‘I know Meagan and I both agree that Kenni is our hero with how she’s dealing with this. She is a ball of energy and a stereotypical 2-year-old. She’s the youngest child, where she is the boss and she’s extremely stubborn, which a great character trait in going to fight cancer. She doesn’t let anything stop her.’
Kenni’s type of cancer (a yolk-sac tumor) falls under the umbrella of Ovarian Germ Cell Tumors, also known as GCTs.
They account for 25 percent of all ovarian tumors, including benign ones.
Twenty percent of all ovarian tumors are cancerous.
Of all the cancerous ovarian tumors, just 20 percent of those are cancerous yolk-sac tumors.
In a nutshell: it is not common at all.
But the few younger people who develop ovarian cancer are more likely to develop this rare type than the more common types.
‘This is very, very rare,’ Dr Robert Wenham, Chair of Moffitt Cancer Center’s Gynecological Oncology Department told DailyMail.com, adding: ‘It is the youngest of which I have heard.’
‘Growth can be rapid,’ he said. ‘Swelling and pain are the most common’ symptoms.
Yolk-sac tumors are incredibly rare, accounting for a fifth of cancerous ovarian tumors
Meagan, Kenni’s mom, knew something wasn’t right even when doctors said they thought Kenni just had a bad case of gas. Within 24 hours, scans revealed her cancer
Kenni has now undergone surgery and is about to embark on chemotherapy. ‘This poor baby needs your prayers,’ the family wrote on Facebook
‘The good news is the five-year survival for treated patients is relatively high ranging around almost 100 percent for stage 1 down to 70 percent stage 4.’
According to Dr Wenham, while surgery to remove the tumor is recommended, it’s not clear how effective it is. However, with younger patients, doctors are likely to be performing surgery anyway to preserve what normal ovaries and uterus lining they can for fertility purposes.
The most effective type of treatment for patients like Kenni is chemotherapy.
‘Almost all patients will need chemotherapy, usually with three drugs called bleomycin, etoposide, and cisplatin,’ he said.
‘There is some support to substitute carboplatin for cisplatin to lessen toxicity.’
It’s not clear what chemotherapy Kenni will be taking.
For now, the family is sharing their story, asking well-wishers to keep them in their thoughts, as family friends try to rally funds to pay Kenni’s medical bills.
‘This poor baby needs your prayers,’ they wrote on Facebook.
Painfully, the family is having to consider Kenni’s future fertility options
Mike and Meagan, both teachers who recently bought a house and moved to Senoia, have two sons older than Kenni, friends say, meaning finances are tight.
Writing on GoFundMe, Mike said the entire ordeal has been surreal.
‘This whole experience has been completely outside our usual realm of normalcy,’ he said.
‘Here we are…with no prior experience with sick kids or hospital stays. Now, tubes and medical professionals are our new normal.’
- To donate to the family, visit their GoFundMe page