Flu Season 2018: Teen Diagnosed With Advanced Cancer After Doctors Thought He Had Influenza

A teenage boy in Tampa was diagnosed with advanced cancer shortly after he went to a clinic with flu-like symptoms, according to a local news report.

The teen, Hunter Brady, first began showing flu-like symptoms on New Year’s Eve, according to a YouCaring page set up by someone who says he is Brady’s cousin He wasn't alone: In early January, more than six percent of all doctors appointments were for this kind of illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This year’s flu season has been bad—so perhaps it’s no surprise that doctors asked his parents to “let the virus run its course,” as the page claims.

“We weren’t aware at the time that his right lung was collapsed,” his mother told Tampa’s local ABC affiliate when a crew from the station visited the 16-year-old at the hospital. Brady was eventually diagnosed with stage IVb Hodgkin's lymphoma. 

Hodgkin's lymphoma is a cancer that affects cells in the immune system called lymphocytes. These cells are responsible for making antibodies against pathogens like bacteria in a person's body. According to the American Cancer Society, people with stage IV Hodgkin’s lymphoma have about a 65-percent chance of surviving for more than five years.

Brady has been receiving treatment since early January—and it hasn't always been easy. According to the YouCaring page, a medication he received during his first day of chemotherapy made his heart nearly stop beating due to an allergic reaction. Since he began treatment, members of his family have shaved their heads in solidarity, the Washington Post reported

The YouCaring page for the family had raised $10,000 as of Thursday afternoon. CBS News reported the family also held a fundraising race, with proceeds benefiting the family.

When the crew from the ABC affiliate visited the hospital, Brady’s doctor told him that his “tumor has shrunk like crazy.” According to a Facebook post from his mother, Brady finished his third round of chemotherapy on Tuesday and is now home.

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