Epworth boy Alexander Strong, 7, given 'very slim' chance of long-term survival
The family of cancer sufferer Alexander Strong have been told his chances of long-term survival are "very slim".
The seven-year-old has been battling a malignant tumour called a neuroblastoma since he was four.
After high dose chemotherapy treatment failed to kill the cancerous cells, Alexander, of Burnham Road, Epworth, had been waiting to start a new antibody trial to assist him – but this has now been stopped.
His father Mark Strong said: "We were told the hospital had found a neuroblastoma in Alexander's bone marrow and on further examination of the last scans, they found areas of spread to one of his thighs, bottom of spine and skull.
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"This meant his disease was progressing, so he could no longer go on the antibody trial. Our consultant then told us that his chance of long term survival was now very slim."
After consultation with experts at University College London (UCL), Sheffield Children's Hospital had proposed to give Alexander some more chemotherapy to see if they could bring the disease under control. But to add to the youngster's difficulties, he caught shingles and chicken pox, which resulted in a two-week hospital stay.
"It's not been good," said Mr Strong.
"His immune system was very low and it's knocked him backwards.
"Alexander unfortunately got poorly, so this further chemotherapy treatment did not happen.
"It's the first time I've seen him look this poorly. He normally perks up but that's not happened this time.
"That's why we know it's something serious."
Alexander has had a special scan before seeing the specialists at UCL for consideration of other treatments. Mr Strong said: "We are waiting for the results of the scan and hope that we will go to UCL as Alexander is still unwell and suffering from headaches, which worries us, due to the disease spread."
The results are expected next week.
The family were due to meet with his consultant this week to discuss what options, if any, were still available.
"We are in limbo because we still don't know what's happening with things," said Mr Strong, who also attended a neuroblastoma conference in London to look at treatment options.
"It was an eye opener," he said.
"Obviously the picture given to us is that this is more about prolonging life than finding a cure."
Alexander's fund – log on to www.lexysfund.btck.co.uk for details – is currently at around the £30,000 mark.
His family are raising money to be placed in a community fund account should it be necessary for Alexander to undertake treatment that is not available on the NHS.