Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hemangioma


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!

11 comments:

Gabi said...

Thanks for sharing this story. Your niece turned out a beautiful woman. Can that hemangioma go away on its own as well? My niece was born with a strawberry like thikish thingy on her forehead. But it became less and less obvious and it's almost gone by now. She's now 5 years old.

Donna said...

Gabi,
Yes it can go away on it's own. The strawberry thingy is most likely a hemangioma. They can be flat and look like a red birthmark. About 70% go away by the age of 10.

Emily said...

Very interesting story, think I saw a program about this on TLC?? Glad to hear about your niece.

kaghos said...

she sure is a beautiful girl, young woman. I have see document stories on the history channel with this tumor and they where really big ones.
these where people from 3 world cultures

Rene la Frog said...

Like Emily I saw the show on TV about these and thought how scary it must be for the parents. Your niece is beautiful and I am so happy she had a good outcome from the surgery.

Meari said...

Beautiful ornament and beautiful niece!

Carolyn NC said...

A beautiful story...so glad it had a happy ending. Lovely ornament.

Karan said...

Thanks for sharing this story - it's good to know that not all end sadly. :0)

Nancy said...

Nice story. My daughter had one of the flat ones right inside her hairline when she was little and it went away by the time she was one. Your niece is very pretty!

LoriRay said...

Wow, what a story!

I just love the work you do. :)

Carissa said...

Donna, thank you for your personal story. My oldest son has a hemangioma on the right side of his brain. We found it by him having a grand mal seizure 3 days before his 8th birthday. Fortunately, it has not gotten larger and he has only had a few very minor seizures during his sleep. It's a very scar thing to know that something seemingly so small can cause my son to die by either a stroke or bleeding out.

I'm excited to know that there's a ribbon color for this also. I'm going to start on some ornies for you in honor of some family members including my son.