Nine-year-old Cameron Scott is a superhero. You wouldn’t be able to tell by his big, beautiful bright smile that he underwent months of grueling treatments — including chemotherapy and surgery on his brain and spine – to beat cancer in 2017. But just when he thought things might return to normal, he quickly found out that he wasn’t out of the woods yet.
At 53 pounds, Cameron underwent four hours of surgery to remove the tumors. Cameron still had regular doctor visits to see how his treatment was progressing. But because of his treatment, he was extremely fatigued, which meant he had to be tutored at home. Eventually, Cameron was allowed to return to school part-time.
“One of the challenges of a parent who has a diagnosis like Cameron did is ensuring they don’t get depressed and they don’t feel different. But he’s very smart and he wanted to go home when his friends went home,” said his father Wardell Scott
His journey from sickness to wellness started back in October 2016. That’s when Cameron fell down the stairs of his family home. But it wasn’t an especially bad fall, or so the family thought.
“I’ll remember that like it was yesterday. In that home, we’ve raised six children and they’ve all taken a tumble down the stairs and it was no big deal,” Mr. Scott recalled.
But instead of shaking it off like many of his siblings, Cameron complained of back pain. A first X-ray showed nothing and he was given some pain pills. His dad was called to Cameron’s school a day or two later because he couldn’t walk. At another clinic, a St. Jude affiliate doctor ordered an MRI.
“She said, ‘Go upward’ That’s when we noticed the tumor. It’s kind of hard to say this. But if he hadn’t that fall, we wouldn’t have him with us here today.”
Cameron was diagnosed with a brain tumor called medulloblastoma. He underwent four hours of surgery for the tumor at the base of his brain. But the cancer had spread. Cameron had several tumors in his brain and on his spine. St. Jude’s took over his treatment in December 2016.
Medulloblastoma is a cancerous tumor—also called cerebellar primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET)—that starts in the region of the brain at the base of the skull, called the posterior fossa. These tumors tend to spread to other parts of the brain and to the spinal cord.
Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor of childhood, and it accounts for about 20 percent of all childhood brain tumors.
Between 250 and 500 children are found to have medulloblastoma each year in the United States.
If your child has medulloblastoma, the following symptoms may occur:
– Morning nausea or vomiting that gradually gets worse
– Problems with handwriting
– Visual problems (rare) at the time of diagnosis
If the tumor has spread to the spinal cord, symptoms may include:
– Back pain
– Trouble walking
– Problems controlling bladder and bowel functions
“It is a very aggressive cancer,” said Dr. Santhosh Upadhyaya, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital oncologist. “It had gone beyond the confines of where it started. In these cases, it is a high-risk for treatment failure and these children are given more aggressive treatment and higher doses of radiation.”
Cameron underwent radiation and chemotherapy. He completed his treatment July 2017.
Cameron has been cancer-free for about a year and a half. Healing is slow, but it’s real. “I feel amazing now,” Cameron said. “I feel like I’ve been through everything.”