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September 29th, 2017

Cancer can strike at the most unexpected times to the most unexpected people. Children across the country are diagnosed with cancer every day. It’s difficult to understand how someone so young can be diagnosed with cancer, but some of the strongest fighters are the smallest fighters.  

Tucker Williams was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer of the soft tissue, at only two and a half months old. He went from eating regularly to not eating at all. That is when his mother, Jessica, took her son to The Children’s Hospital at TriStar Centennial. Looking back, she says “Cancer never crossed our minds.”

A large cancerous mass was found in Tucker’s abdomen and Dr. Haydar Frangoul, a pediatric hematologist-oncologist, was given Tucker’s case.

“Cancers that are termed Rhabdomyosarcoma develop in muscles and even more distressing in Tucker’s case was the location of his tumor, which we believe started in his diaphragm, so it couldn’t be more central or more deep in his body,” said Dr. Andrew Kennedy, Physician-in-Chief, Radiation Oncology, at the Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at TriStar Centennial.

The typical treatment for this type of cancer is surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. However, giving radiation to children can cause significant side effects. Dr. Kennedy, Dr. Frangoul and the rest of Tucker’s care team worked together to target the radiation only on the tumor without damaging the surrounding organs. “This targeted approach was a first for our hospital and certainly in this region,” said Kennedy.

Tucker is now in full remission and his mother describes him as “happy, fun, active, and an extremely strong little boy.”

Watch the video to learn more about Tucker’s story.