A seven-year-old South American girl diagnosed with a rare case of breast cancer at the age of five has had to have her breast removed with her only hope a life saving operation in Spain.
Local experts claimed this was the first time they found themselves dealing with a patient with this type of cancer at such an early age with almost no cases ever documented of anybody younger.
The patient, little Maura, from Quillota, Chile, had to undergo a mastectomy and have her breast removed at just age seven.
But Maura’s unusual case reportedly began when she was five years old – when her mother, Patricia Munoz, noticed a strange lump on her breast.
She took her to a doctor who found the lump worrying and warned that it needed to be monitored.
The doctor also warned it might grow in size, and it quickly did.
Just months later after the prognosis, Maura was taken back for an exam and doctors confirmed that the girl has breast cancer.
Patricia said: “I was bathing her one day and after drying her and putting cream on her, I noticed that she had a little bean under her nipple.
“There the doctor stressed to me that what Maura had was not normal, that if I waited a lot this would grow, but he never told me that it could come to this.
“This was in August, and in September we found out that Maura had (breast) cancer, ” she said.
After the shocking reveal, doctors recommended that Maura undergo a mastectomy to prevent the tumour from spreading.
Surgeons were able to successfully perform the operation and remove her entire breast.
The family is currently waiting for the results of the tests that were performed to find out if the tumour generated metastasis.
Patricia said: “My daughter is mutilated and that is the pain I have, because she is not as strong as an adult. I look at photos of Maura and cry.
“The only thing that she has mentioned to me when I take her to the oncologist is that she does not want to be bald, but beyond that, she does not understand that she does not have her breast,” Patricia added.
Pediatric oncologist Francisco Barriga said that the case is extremely rare in boys and girls: “I thought I was going to die and fortunately never seeing breast cancer in a child under 10 years of age.
“In my 32 years of age, I have never seen it, and I believe that another 32 will have to pass for it to appear or that I know of another similar case.
“A case of a child under the age of seven is completely anecdotal,” he added.
The president of the Chilean Association of Cancer Patients, Felipe Tagle, said: “There is almost no case similar to Maura’s in the entire world.
“Maura’s case could be one in 400 million.”
Reportedly, the only other patient to be diagnosed with breast cancer younger than Maura was Aleisha Hunter, from Canada, who was diagnosed at three years old in 2009.
For this reason, it was difficult to find specialists willing to treat the case of the seven-year-old girl.
Her family is willing to travel to Barcelona, where they have reportedly contacted some medical professionals who have treated some similar cases, which keeps the family hopeful.