A BRAVE girl battling an aggressive cancer has undergone the next stage of treatment that will mean she will be unable to have prolonged human contact for a week.
Jessica Whelan, four, from Oswaldtwistle, was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma in September.
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The youngster has already undergone two clinical trials in a bid to overcome the cancer of specialised nerve cells involved in the development of the nervous system and other tissues but they have proved unsuccessful.
Jessica’s tumours have grown to such an extent that she is currently receiving 60 milligrams of morphine twice a day to help her deal with her current unbearable pain which has left her sofa-bound and unable to be touched.
This week Jessica will undergo MIBG therapy, radiotherapy via injection, at The Christie hospital in Manchester, which her dad Andy Whelan hopes will give the family another two years with their “brave little fighter”.
But because the treatment is so radioactive Jessica will be in a lead-lined room in isolation.
Mr Whelan will have to wear a hazard suit to go in and see his daughter and will only be able to touch his daughter briefly to comfort her.
After about seven days she will be allowed back home but her mum Nicki Prendergast and brother James will have to move out because she will still be too radioactive to be around children.
Mr Whelan, who has been forced to take a break from his job as an electrician for a second time to look after his daughter, said: “Jessica has so far endured nine months of treatment, including two clinical trials.
“Sadly she has not responded as well to these treatments as we would want and we have now found out that her tumours are showing signs of growth again.
“We have now found out that the next stage of treatment is MIBG therapy. They are hoping this will alleviate a lot of her pain and shrink a lot of the tumours.
“We’re only expecting a couple of years with our brave little fighter. We’re being told we’re on the last treatment option.”
Mr Whelan said he was hoping that the treatment will be successful enough to remove Jessica’s rickman line, a central venous catheter. If that is the case she will then be able to go swimming and there is the possibility the family will be able to go on holiday.
A fundraising page has been set up to help cover the cost of the family’s living expenses and any trips they may take Jessica on.
To donate, visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/jessicas-treatment.