Kai Dunbar, Pediatric Melanoma
I was diagnosed with stage III melanoma at 9 years old. I had a small mole on the right side of my face that started to itch. So I went to see my pediatrician. He told my mom that I should see a dermatologist. My mom took me to a dermatologist who told us that the mole need to be biopsied. We had it removed right there in his office. Three days later, the dermatologist called my mother that we had to go to MD Anderson – the mole was cancerous. At MD Anderson, we met with Dr. Ehab Hanna, Professor, Head & Neck Surgery, who explained the procedures to remove the cancer. Then, they would run tests, and take X-Rays to be sure all of the cancer was removed. At first, my MD Anderson medical team said everything was clear – the cancer was completely removed. But a few weeks later, Dr. Hanna called and said some cancer cells were seen near my garotid gland. So I was scheduled to have my parotid gland and 46 lymph nodes removed. After that surgery, I had to be home schooled while I recovered. I also entered a clinical trial for treating kids with cancer. I had to get intravenous treatments at MD Anderson for 30 days straight. After that, my mom gave me shots in my stomach area every other day at home. But I was only able to stay on the clinical trial for a few weeks. The side effects were too painful. I was in 5th grade and always in the hospital. So I didn’t get to do the things other kids did like go to parties and have fun. Now, my doctor continues to monitor me only.