“I’ve been very positive for the last few years. But the feeling of being hopeful and positive was all gone at that point. Those were dark days,” she said. Her family helped her pull through.
Sarcomas are already rare but this type of sarcoma, solitary fibrous tumours occurring in a part of the brain known as the ventricles, is even rarer, with 30 cases reported in the world, said Assistant Prof Yang.
Of these, Atika is one of only two known cases globally where the cancer exhibits aggressive behaviour, recurring and spreading to distant parts of the body, added Assistant Prof Yang.
Atika underwent two cycles of chemotherapy, followed by surgery to remove the liver tumour, and was put on drugs that successfully helped to control the cancer for a while.
In December 2021, she underwent a third brain surgery, followed by another four cycles of chemotherapy. She also underwent radiosurgery for her brain tumour in 2022, and immunotherapy in 2023, a treatment that helps the immune system fight cancer cells.