Pediatric Leukemia on the Rise - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Pediatric Leukemia on the Rise

Dr. Osvaldo Regueira Dr. Osvaldo Regueira

Leukemia is the number one cancer for children in America and the number of children being diagnosed is on the rise.

In Amarillo 80% of our children with cancer are being treated for leukemia.

While in previous decades children typically had six months to live after being diagnosed the panhandle has a 90% five year survival rate according to a local doctor.

Today I spoke with a young lady who is hoping to be one of those success stories. Marisa Ybarra says,"It was kinda scary you don't think it would be happening to you."

Ybarra was planning a trip to Washington D.C. This March when she went to see her doctor about the horrible pains above her knee.

"Like it had been hurting for a couple months before that and i just thought it was just hurting and then we went to the doctor and it turned out just......" she says.

While there is no way for parents to prevent leukemia Ybarras' doctor says a child's environment may have an impact.

Dr. Osvaldo Regueira says, "Parents that are in industries that use chemicals are sometimes at higher risk of having all sorts of cancers, but aside from that there's not much you can really do unfortunately."

He says it is rare a patient will need to leave Amarillo for treatment because Texas Tech is equipped with the knowledge and technology needed to treat the cancer locally.

Ybarra's cancer was caught early and doctors say that is crucial for the success of treatments.

If you are concerned your child may have leukemia symptoms include tiredness, unusual behavior, and chronic pain in the legs or arms.

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