Boy's Extreme Thirst Turned Out to Be Symptom of Rare Cancer-Like Disease

A young boy who had been suffering with excessive thirst was later diagnosed with a rare, cancer-like condition, his mother has revealed.

The boy's mother, Rachel Daley, took him to the doctor at the age of three, after a period in which he had been suffering from weight loss, loss of appetite and fatigue, in addition to the unusual thirst, the Liverpool Echo reported.

The boy had also been drinking and urinating more often than is considered normal.

When Daley initially took the boy, named Jack, to the doctors, she was told to return in two weeks. But his symptoms soon took a turn for the worse.

"Within 10 days, he had a really bad turn in nursery so I just threw him in the car and took him to [ER] which is where the diagnosis process started," Daley told the Echo.

Medical staff subsequently conducted a series of tests and the boy was eventually diagnosed with a rare condition known as Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) in 2014.

LCH is a rare disorder that can damage tissue or cause lesions to form in the body. The disease can affect any part of the body, but it is most commonly seen in the skin and bones. The disease occurs when the body produces too many histiocyte cells—a form of immune cell.

'Cancer-Like Condition'

According to the National Cancer Institute, it's unclear whether it's a form of cancer or is simply a "cancer-like condition".

Recent research has even suggested that the disease could be considered a form of autoimmune disorder in which abnormally high levels of certain immune cells begin attacking the body.

In any case, some treatments that are used for cancer can also be used to treat Langerhans cell histiocytosis.

The disease is more commonly found in children than adults, and it's most frequently diagnosed between the ages of one and three. LHC is very rare occurring in roughly one in every 200,000 children, according to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

Fortunately, the disease has a high survival rate of around 90 percent and most children are cured.

Nevertheless, the news of Jack Daley's diagnosis was hugely upsetting for the family, who live in northwestern England.

"It was a bit of a nightmare really. I was in such a shock," Daley said. "It doesn't get a lot of research or a lot of money spent on it because it's relatively unknown. So I relied heavily on what I could find online and stories from other people."

After being admitted to hospital, the boy underwent 12 months of chemotherapy and steroid treatment, which was successful. But in 2018, the family received the news that he had relapsed, forcing his mother to give up her job in order to look after him.

"Jack's treatment this time round was going to be a lot more intense," she said.

This treatment was also successful and the boy recovered. His mother said he is now "doing really well" and is set to start a new school in September.

A child holding an empty glass
A file photo of a child holding an empty glass. A young boy who had been experiencing excessive thirst was later diagnosed with a rare, cancer-like condition. iStock