New York City is experiencing a rare and aggressive form of cervical cancer that has returned after it was almost completely cured three years ago.
New York City’s health commissioner, Dr. David Greenstein, said that the first signs of cancer returned in June 2017, but he didn’t know the exact date.
He told reporters Tuesday that the boy was recently diagnosed with Stage IV cervical cancer, which can cause paralysis and pain in the neck.
The boy is now a high-risk case, meaning that his health and life expectancy could be compromised if he had other cancers.
The New York Post reports that Dr. Greenstein said the boy’s condition improved in late April when his parents were able to visit him.
He said the child is “doing better” and that the doctors are hopeful he will live another year.
The father told reporters he was “very, very happy” with his son’s prognosis.
But the father said he’s concerned about the possibility that the family’s insurance might lapse and could be denied coverage.
“It’s a scary time,” said the father, who declined to be identified.
“I think that if you look at the numbers, and the fact that we’re on a trajectory to go back to a stage of cancer that we probably haven’t been since the early 2000s, then it’s hard to think that this is something that could ever be completely cured,” he said.
“But we do have a chance of going back to normal.
We just have to keep working on it.”
The father said the son is now the oldest living child in the United States with Stage V cervical cancer.
Greenstein said that there is a 99 percent success rate for new cases of cervical cancers, and that it was only recently that New York State started reporting new cases.
“In New York, we’ve seen this, and it’s really exciting, and hopefully it will keep happening,” he told reporters.
New Yorkers have the option of getting preventive screenings for cancer.
The tests are available through a variety of local clinics.
Follow AP health and science reporter Meghan Maurer at twitter.com/maeurer or facebook.com/meghan.maurer.