Texas Children's helps local teen in his fight against a rare cancer

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- On the outside, Marcel Fletcher looks like your average 14-year-old who loves playing sports.

"Football, running and working out," said Marcel.

But earlier this year, his family received some devastating news linked to a pain he was experiencing in his abdomen.

"They had come in there and told my mom that I had colon cancer," said Marcel.

Dr. Rajkumar Venkatramani is the director of the Rare Tumors Program, for the Cancer and Hematology Centers at Texas Children's and treated Marcel.

"Marcel has stage 4 colorectal cancer. Which is extremely rare for a 14-year-old child to have," said Dr. Venkatramani.

Dr. Venkatramani said colon cancer is actually the fourth most common cancer in the country, but occurs largely in older patients.

"It's less than one in 100,000 children who have colorectal cancer," said Dr. Venkatramani. "It's probably one patient per year, or even less sometimes. But recently we have seen an increase in the number of children with (this) type of cancer."

In order to treat Marcel, Dr. Venkatramani said the first thing they did was remove the primary tumor in his abdomen. Afterwards, he started chemotherapy since there were signs the cancer was starting to spread.

In the meantime, Marcel said he's been relying on his faith to help him through his journey.

"I look at it as a test," said Marcel. "God's looking at me to see if I fall. If I fall, he's not going to pick me back up so if I stay strong he'll help me through this."

"We are taking this one day at a time. But seeing how he has done so far, we're positive," said Dr. Venkatramani.

While he's not done with treatments yet, Marcel and his family are optimistic about his outlook.

"I'm just trying to get through this so I can get back on that football field," said Marcel.
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