A Brazilian economist Régis Feitosa has seen three children die from cancer in a row in less than five years and he is also fighting this terrible disease.
Economist Régis Feitosa was the first in his family to be diagnosed with blood cancer in 2009. At the time, he was concerned that the cancers were related and decided to get genetic testing. Blood tests revealed that Régis had Li-Fraumeni syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that increases the risk of cancer in blood relatives.
‘The results showed that I had a genetic alteration that unfortunately was also passed to my children and that potentiates the appearance of cancer” Regis (53 years old) said.
In 2016, all three of Régis’ children were determined to share a rare genetic mutation inherited from their father that leads to Li-Fraumeni syndrome. This syndrome manifests as a series of cancers found in the same family. Family members with this syndrome often have a high risk of hereditary cancer for many generations and the age at which cancer is detected is quite early (usually before the age of 30).
Despite the risk, the Brazilian economist could do nothing to prevent cancer that would take the lives of his children. Régis’ youngest daughter Beatriz was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (a type of blood cancer) in 2017 at the age of 9. The girl then received a bone marrow transplant. But cancer returned and she died just a year later on June 24, 2018 at the age of 10.
Régis went on to lose his son Pedro on November 30, 2020. Pedro was diagnosed with bone cancer at the age of 17 and was cured after many treatments and relapses. However, Pedro was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2019 and died at the age of 22.
Feitosa continues to watch his eldest daughter Anna Carolina die of monstrous cancer. Carolina was also diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia at the age of 12 in 2009. She cured her cancer after a three-year course of treatment that included radiation and chemotherapy. As an adult, Carolina became a doctor but was later diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2021. And she died on November 19, 2022 at the age of 25.
‘In four and half years, I lost all my children,’ Regis told BBC News Brazil.
‘My children said I was just as much a victim as they were,’ he said. ‘Today my view is that we have to live intensely, with the utmost joy,’ Régis said. ‘My son said a very coherent sentence: “No one can measure the pain of the other.”