“I’ve missed everything that comes with being a senior,” Cambron said today at his grandparents’ home in Coldwater.
He hasn’t been able to join in the pranks that come with the senior-junior wars at school, or enjoy senior week with his friends, explained his mother, Beverly Cambron.
Doctors removed his tumor in May. Cambron was diagnosed several weeks later with epithelioid sarcoma, a rare, aggressive form of cancer that attacks soft tissue.
Cambron’s medical expenses are covered by Medicaid, but with constant trips to the Kirklin Clinic in Birmingham for treatment his mother has been unable to work since his diagnosis. The family’s bills are mounting, Beverly Cambron explained.
A fundraiser for Cambron will take place Saturday at the Oxford Civic Center.
Doctors caught his cancer early, which is a good thing, his mother said, as it’s known to spread quickly. A second tumor was spotted and removed in October.
According to a 2009 study published by the National Institute for Health, about 68 percent of patients with the cancer live past five years after diagnosis, and about 61 percent live past 10 years.
Cambron’s type of cancer is typically found in the extremities, his mother said, and amputation is often done to prevent the cancer from returning. Cambron’s tumors were found on his torso, she said, so amputation isn’t an option.
Because it is such a rare type of cancer – about one in 2.5 million people have it – it’s often misdiagnosed, said Dr. Kathleen Beebe.
Beebe, an associate professor in the department of orthopedics at New Jersey Medical School at Rutgers University, has treated patients with epithelioid sarcoma. She co-wrote a 2012 article in the American Journal of Orthopaedics on the disease.
Surgical removal of the tumor is the most common treatment for Cambron’s type of cancer, Beebe said.
Radiation therapy can decrease the chance a tumor will return in the same spot, Beebe said, but radiation and chemotherapy are not as effective on epithelioid sarcoma.
The rates of reoccurrences of the cancer are above 50 percent, Beebe said, and the chance of it spreading to other parts of the body are also high, nearing 50 percent.
If the cancer returns or spreads the prognosis is poor, Beebe said.
Cambron will soon start radiation treatments, and he likely won’t be back in school until after Christmas, his mother said.
The cancer may have kept him home more than he’d have liked during his senior year, but it hasn’t slowed him in his efforts to become a music producer.
Thanks in part to his school-supplied laptop and the ability to complete much of his classwork online, Cambron is still on track to graduate in May, his mother said. He plans to study music production at Jacksonville State University.
Saturday’s fundraiser starts with a softball tournament at the Oxford Softball Complex at 9 a.m. Several musical performances, a silent auction and a raffle will take place beginning at 1:30 p.m. inside the Oxford Civic Center.
“We’re just praying,” his mother said. “We’re just praying that they do radiation and hopefully it doesn’t come back.”
Visit a support page for Cambron at www.facebook/PrayersForSebastianBlakeCambron.
Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.