Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Burgundy is the color of the ribbon for hemangioma. What in the world is "hemangioma" you might ask? Well this is what I Googled, but I have even more to tell you about this blood vessel filled tumor. Here is what I found:
Hemangiomas are connected to the circulatory system and filled with blood. The appearance depends on location. If they are on the surface of the skin they look like a ripe strawberry, if they are just under the skin they present as a bluish swelling. Sometimes they grow in internal organs such as the liver or larynx. In most cases, hemangiomas will disappear over time. They are formed either during gestation or most commonly they are not present at birth but appear during the first few weeks of life. They are often misdiagnosed, initially, as a scratch or bruise but the diagnosis becomes obvious with further growth. Typically at the earliest phase in a superficial lesion one will see a bluish red area with obvious blood vessels and surrounding pallor. Sometimes they present as a flat red or pink area. Hemangiomas are the most common childhood tumor, occurring in approximately ten percent of Caucasians, and are less prevalent in other races. Females are three to five times more likely to have hemangiomas than males. They are also more common in twin pregnancies. Approximately 80% are located on the face and neck, with the next most prevalent location being the liver. Although hemangiomas are benign, some serious complications can occur. Hemangiomas never develop as an adult.
Now, here is my story: My sweet niece was born with this little red spot on her cheek. It grew and grew until it looked like this
At 22 months my sister took my niece to Little Rock, where Dr. Milton Waner removed this tumor (hemanigioma). This can be a very dangerous surgery because as mentioned, it is filled with blood vessels and can bleed uncontrollably during surgery.
All went well and my niece is now 20 years old. A faint scar on her jawline is all that remains. Here is a picture of Sabrina and her boyfriend Tory:
American Cancer Society funds research into learning more about all kinds of tumors, benign and otherwise. So what we are doing is very important.
Just ask Sabrina!