Lucas Andrade Rizzo, 16, began experiencing severe pain in his right arm earlier this year, and noticed a lump growing above his elbow. He went through several medical appointments, but was informed that it was a “growing pain”, because he was developing physically, and that was normal. After months of coming and going to the hospital, he was referred to a hospital in Santos, and when performing a biopsy, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, bone cancer, in April.
During the treatment of the disease, Rizzo found that he would have to amputate his arm because, at the stage at which the tumor was diagnosed, there was no longer any chance of recovering the member. On July 2, he performed the amputation, and since then, he has continued to carry out cancer treatments to prevent metastases.
Teenager amputated his right arm on July 2, after starting treatment for an osteosarcoma — Photo: Personal archive
In an interview with G1 this Tuesday (24), the teenager’s mother, the manicurist Damaris Angelique Rizzo, reported that the family has been facing difficulties to pay for transport from Itanhaém to Santos, where the son undergoes the treatment.
Damaris explains that the City of Itanhaém provides a van to take him with other patients, however, according to her, due to his low immunity, Lucas’ doctor said that he could not be in the same vehicle with several other people. When explaining this to those responsible for the service, they reported that she should file a lawsuit.
“Process? I don’t have time to sue anyone, to go to court. I just have time to take care of my son. He needs me,” he says.
In this way, the family transports them by means of application cars, to take the child to hospitalizations and bring him home after being discharged.
Teenager discovered cancer after going to doctors several times and being told that he was only feeling ‘growing pains’ — Photo: Personal Archive
With her and her husband unemployed, due to the time allotted to accompany Rizzo in treatments and hospitalizations, Damaris began to organize raffles for items donated to Lucas, such as old dolls and hygiene products. With clothes also donated, she opened a bazaar at home to try to get the money for transportation.
In addition to the journey, the family has been spending on food for the teenager, as he cannot eat hospital food and ends up vomiting. Worried about the situation, she is trying to sell the house where she lives in Itanhaém to buy one closer to the hospital where the treatment takes place. “I’m trying to sell my house and buy a closer one, in São Vicente, for example, which I believe is cheaper”, he explains.
Lucas Andrade Rizzo, aged 16, continues to perform cancer treatments to prevent bone cancer from metastasizing — Photo: Personal archive
After losing a member at age 16, Lucas reported to G1 as has been the adaptation period after amputation. “It’s very complicated. I was right-handed, and it became even more difficult to do everything with my left hand. And, also, there is the emotional issue of living in this situation. I think that, due to a medical error, this is happening”, he says.
The young man still reports that he used to be independent, but currently he needs help with most activities, which makes him discouraged.
“It’s not very encouraging to know how I’m going to continue. in spite of them [família] help me a lot, my life has changed a lot. After the amputation, I feel like things are worse because I get more discouraged to do anything. I get very confused with one arm, I drop things, so I feel bad having to ask for help”, he vents.
Regarding the pain, Rizzo says that it has decreased, but that he still feels a “phantom pain”, which happens when the brain keeps sending pain signals to the cut nerve, as it has not yet adapted to the new physical condition. The pains are real and persist for a while after the amputation.
After having an arm amputated, a teenager faces problems in paying for transport and undergoing cancer treatment — Photo: Personal Archive
O G1 contacted the City of Itanhaém to find out if the municipality offers any financial assistance or means of transport that could take Lucas individually to Santos. Check out the full answer:
“Mrs. Damaris, Lucas’ mother, was at the Health Department in April to schedule transportation for the first appointment with the oncologist at a hospital in Santos. After that date, she was a few more times to schedule transportation and then he did not return. The secretariat team even discharged the patient in transport at the hospital’s request. According to our files and checks with the servers, it was never asked or asked if there would be another type of transport, thus not having the opportunity to provide guidance on how to open an administrative process for auditing in special demand, for evaluation of a specialized service. In relation to what Ms. Damaris reported, we believe that there has been some mismatch of information, and we are at your disposal for further clarification.”
According to data from the Brazilian Society of Cancerology, bone tumors represent 2% of oncological pathologies in Brazil. On average, two to three cases of the disease are recorded for every 1 million inhabitants, and, in children and adolescents, the most common type is osteosarcoma.
Bone cancer usually affects the long bones of the arms and thighs, spine and pelvis. “The disease is classified as primary bone tumor, which is when cancer develops directly in the bone; and secondary bone tumor, which arises from a process known as bone metastasis, when a cancer in another organ spreads through the bones”, explains oncological orthopedist Fernando Brasil.
The specific cause of most types of bone cancer is unknown. However, it is believed that it is related to an error in the DNA of some cells, which causes an irregular cell mutation or division.
Exposure to high levels of radiation, genetic syndromes and pre-existing diseases such as Paget’s disease contribute to an increased chance of developing a bone tumor. Some of the main symptoms of this cancer are intense and frequent pain in certain parts of the body and pathological fractures caused by some previous involvement of the bone.