US toddler diagnosed with rare form of ovarian cancer

A toddler in the US is undergoing chemotherapy after being diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer.

McKenna Shea Xydias, a two-year-old from the state of Georgia, had been bloated and running a fever for several weeks before scans revealed the cancer.

"We took her to the doctor - at that point they thought it was gas so they told us to give her gas drops and let them know if she got anymore fevers," her father Mike Xydias told  Good Morning America.

As the fevers continued, McKenna underwent further scans, including an ultrasound, which revealed a 14cm tumour on one of her ovaries and a diagnosis of stage 3 yolk sac ovarian cancer. There were further growths found throughout her abdomen and near her liver.

"The immediate reaction was, 'How could this happen?'" her father said.

"I knew of this being common in women. I didn't realise that it could happen to such a young kid."

Days later, the child had surgery to remove her right ovary as well as 13cm of her small intestine and is currently undergoing chemotherapy.

Despite this, McKenna is said to be taking the treatment in her stride.

"She is a ball of energy and a stereotypical two-year-old," her dad said. "She's the youngest child, where she is the boss and she's extremely stubborn, which a great character trait in going to fight cancer. She doesn't let anything stop her."

Kenni with her two brothers.
Kenni at the hospital with her two brothers. Photo credit: Facebook/Fightwithkenni

A friend of the family has started a GoFundMe page which had raised close to US$30,000 at the time of writing.

An ovarian yolk sac tumour is a malignant growth of cells that form over the yolk sac of a woman's embryo. The condition accounts for less than five percent of all ovarian cancers, making it incredibly rare.

Two studies published in the US Journal for Gynecol Cancer list the typical survival rates for stage three of the disease at 30%.