The Importance Of Support During A Cancer Journey
- Singer Michael Bublé’s son Noah was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2016 when he was just 3 years old, but he’s been cancer-free since 2017.
- In a recent interview, Bublé shared that iconic singer and prostate cancer survivor Elton John reached out to him every Sunday to check in on the status of Noah as he battled cancer.
- Liver cancer in children is extremely rare, but the most common type of pediatric liver cancer is hepatoblastoma.
Singer and songwriter Bublé’s 8-year-old son, Noah, was diagnosed with liver cancer at just 3 years old in 2016. Thankfully, he’s been in remission since 2017, but the road to recovery was a hard one for Noah and the whole family of 5 (soon to be 6)– Bublé’s wife, actress Luisana Lopilato, 34, is currently pregnant with their fourth child.Read More
During an interview with Magic Breakfast in the UK, Bublé revealed that John repeatedly reached out to him as his son battled cancer. He even called him a “beautiful man.”
“I didn’t know him, and he called me every single Sunday,” Bublé said. “Every single Sunday he would call to tell me that he and David (his husband) were praying for me and that they loved us and would send us toys.”
He went on to further speak to John’s character and address him directly.
“That’s who he is, that’s who he really is, so Elton John, thank you,” Bublé said.
What Is Liver Cancer?
Liver cancer begins in the liver – an organ located beneath the diaphragm and above the stomach. The most common form of the disease is hepatocellular carcinoma, but there are other types of liver cancers as well. According to the Daily Mail, Noah battled hepatoblastoma. And while we know that any type of liver cancer in children is extremely rare, the most common type of pediatric liver cancer is in fact hepatoblastoma, according to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Still, only 2 or 3 of 1,000,000 children will be diagnosed with the disease.
Blood tests, ultrasounds, CT scans (X-ray images), MRIs (medical imaging) and angiograms are generally used to confirm a liver cancer diagnosis. A liver biopsy, where a small piece of tissue is removed and analyzed for cancerous cells, may also be performed.
We don’t know too much about what Noah’s course of treatment looked like, but we do know he had surgery to remove a tumor as well as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Bublé previously told the Evening Standard that the most important part of his son’s treatment was removing the tumor with clean margins, meaning no cancer cells remained on the edges of the tumor site.
Oftentimes, a liver transplant is considered the best plan when the patient is eligible. For cases of recurrent liver cancer and cancer that has spread throughout the body, your doctor may consider targeted therapy, immunotherapy or chemotherapy as the next step.
Childhood Cancer’s Impact on the Whole Family
Unfortunately, Michael Bublé is not alone in having to watch his child battle cancer.
“We know we’re okay now. But what we went through was f***ing brutal,” Michael Bublé previously said.
Treatment advances in recent decades have lead to 84 percent of children with cancer now surviving five years or more, according to the American Cancer Society. This is up from 58 percent from the mid-1970s.
But according to the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, more than 95 percent of childhood cancer survivors have significant health-related issues because of the current treatment options, and only 4 percent of the billions of dollars spent each year on cancer research and treatments are directed towards treating childhood cancer in the United States. Since 1980, fewer than 10 drugs have been developed for use in children with cancer while hundreds of drugs have been created exclusively for adults.
Dr. Elizabeth Raetz, director of pediatric hematology and oncology at NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center, reminded us in a previous interview that there is still reason for hope.
“There are also targeted treatments and different immunotherapies that have been studied in adults and have now moved into clinical trials for children and there has been a great deal of excitement in the community about that,” Dr. Raetz told SurvivorNet.
Still, navigating a child’s cancer diagnosis can be tricky.
Jayne Wexler’s son battled acute lymphoblastic leukemia and now deals with heart disease as a side effect of chemotherapy. In a previous interview with SurvivorNet, Wexler explained that in addition to regular parent worries – having a child with cancer means living with a whole new world of anxieties.
“My husband and I will always have fear,” she said. “I don’t think we can ever let go of that. Just when he was OK, then he relapsed, and then he had the bone marrow transplant … so there’s always some sort of worry.”
Wexler admits she tries to live for each and every day, but its understandable that this does not always come easy.
“And I do try – you hear people say this – we do have to live each day and be thankful for what we have,” Wexler said. “And it’s hard to remember that when you’re caught up … it’s very hard to just sort of enjoy the moment, because we just don’t know what’s going to happen in the future.”