Thanks to the Hadassah Medical Center’s Dyna and Fala Weinstock Department of Pediatric Hemato-Oncology, endowed by generous donors from the United Kingdom, a 2 1/2-year-old girl from the Former Soviet Union with an eye tumor (retinoblastoma) and a 14-year-old boy from Cyprus have defeated the cancers that were threatening their lives.
Hadassah’s Pediatric Hemato-Oncology Department is renowned for providing comprehensive, sophisticated medical treatment to children and adolescents with cancer and severe non-malignant hematological diseases. Referrals come from well beyond the borders of Israel.
The parents of the toddler with the eye tumor had been told by their physician in the FSU that both of the child’s eyes would have to be surgically removed. The parents found Prof. Jacob Pe’er, Director of Hadassah’s Department of Ophthalmology, and Dr. Michael Weintraub, Director of the Department of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, on the internet and e-mailed them. Shortly after that, parents and child were at Hadassah, where tests and consultations began. The Hadassah team decided that, with chemotherapy, one of the child’s eyes could definitely be saved and possibly the vision in her second eye.
“In cases of retinoblastoma,” Dr. Weintraub explains, “we obviously do everything possible to control the tumor, which is our main concern. However, beyond the immediate medical need, we also try to avoid having to remove the eye, for obvious cosmetic reasons.”
The boy from Cyprus was brought to Hadassah with a massive tumor on his chest. The physicians in his home country were unable to treat it successfully. Dr. Weintraub and Thoracic Surgeon Dr. El-Ami diagnosed the lesion as a malignant germ cell tumor. This tumor arises when germ cells abnormally migrate during the embryonic period, traveling from the testes to the chest. They remain dormant for years, but eventually develop into a tumor.
In this adolescent’s case, the cells became a massive tumor. With surgery and chemotherapy, however, the boy recovered completely and returned to his normal life—which includes playing football!