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How cutting-edge technology is helping Queensland kids

Her unexpected diagnosis

A bright, bubbly teenager and talented dancer, the first signs of pain in Tiana’s lower pelvis were thought to be a dance injury. It was only after many doctors and physiotherapy appointments, a couple of trips to her local emergency department and a six-week break from dancing that a scan revealed something much darker.

In March 2022, Tiana was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma – a rare cancer of the bone or soft tissue. Her family were told to pack their bags and head to their local hospital in Cairns, before being airlifted to the Queensland Children’s Hospital in Brisbane four days later.

A challenging move and hard decisions

Their unexpected move to Brisbane and influx of information that followed was overwhelming at times for Tiana’s family. She was separated from her three older siblings and had to put school on hold for most of 2022. While she remained positive throughout her chemotherapy, radiation and multiple surgeries, it was hard for her close-knit family.

At just fifteen years old, Tiana underwent fertility preservation and had some of her eggs collected and frozen in the weeks before her first round of chemotherapy to protect her fertility – a journey very few girls her age could imagine.

Making her treatment easier

Tiana’s journey was made a little easier through having access to a digital PET-CT service at the Queensland Children’s Hospital and the high-quality and accurate scans.

Queensland Children’s Hospital is the only paediatric hospital in Australia to offer this digital PET-CT technology – which was made possible thanks to a $5 million investment by the Queensland Government and Children’s Hospital Foundation supporters like you. Previously, children like Tiana who needed this type of advanced imaging had to be transferred via ambulance from the Queensland Children’s Hospital to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital – in what was a 10 hour round trip.

Flash forward and Tiana has responded well to her treatment, with her most recent surgery to remove the tumour in her pelvis revealing that her cancerous cells were dead. She has just turned seventeen and will go for her driver’s licence soon.

Now back at school, Tiana’s most recent report card exceeded all expectations and is a testament of her positive attitude and resilience. She is back home in Cairns and will receive scans every few months for monitoring – her smile still bright as ever.