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Teen Survives Rare Type of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Aggressive Cancer Constitutes Less Than 2 Percent of All Childhood Cancers

Teen Survives Rare Type of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

June 2007 — Amanda, 17, experienced a terrible, persistent pain in her knee from what she thought was a sports injury. When she sought medical attention at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, the young teen was devastated to learn she had a highly unusual type of non-Hodgkins lymphoma called precursor B-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma.

"This is an aggressive subtype of childhood non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that accounts for less than 10 percent of all cases of lymphoblastic lymphoma. Lymphomas in general account for only 10 to 15 percent of all childhood cancers," says Anne Schaefer, MD, pediatric hematologist-oncologist on the medical staff of Memorial Regional Hospital, Memorial Regional Hospital South, Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, Memorial Hospital West and Memorial Hospital Miramar, who treated Amanda.

Within days of the news, Amanda put her active teen life on hold and began chemotherapy, with her mother, Rosie, at her side. Although Amanda was apprehensive about the side effects caused by the chemotherapy, "The doctors and nurses were always warm and very positive about my treatment. I knew I could put my trust in them," she says.

Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital "Made Me Feel at Home" For Rosie, a single mother with no other family members in Florida, the friendly environment of Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital made all the difference.

"It's important to have people who are willing to walk with you through hard times, and I discovered those people at the hospital. Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital is a world of caring - filled with people who are truly dedicated to their patients," she says. "They made me feel at home."

Thanks to the rapid, strategic medical intervention, Amanda is now cancer-free and is looking forward to playing tennis again and joining her friends on a senior class trip.

Still undergoing routine maintenance chemotherapy to keep the cancer away, she intends to start college in the fall and will choose a school in South Florida because she received such a high level of quality care at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital.

"I want to stay close by for the remaining year of my treatment because I trust this hospital, and the people there are the reason why I keep coming back," she says.

If you would like a referral to a physician for your child, call Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Physician Referral Service toll-free at (866) JDCH-DOC. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.