As you may recall, 4-year-old Leah was given a diagnosis of Stage 4 Neuroblastoma last June and was given a 50-50 chance to live. Since that time, she and dad Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman Devon Still have become inspirations both on and off the field.
Sales of Devon’s Number 75 jersey raised over a million dollars for childhood cancer research, she took part in a Cyndi Lauper/ Sara Bareilles music video, and Leah even strutted down the runway during NY Fashion Week. Currently the father-daughter team are writing a children’s book to help the families of other children dealing with serious health issues.
An MIBG scintiscan is a type of imaging test. It uses a radioactive substance (in this case MIBG, iodine-131-meta-iodobenzylguanidine) and a special scanner to find or confirm the presence of two types of tumors that can affect the nervous system: pheochromocytoma and neuroblastoma.
MIBG is injected into a vein and it collects in certain tissues. About four hours after the initial injection, a”picture” is taken with a special machine that can detect the radioactive material. Additional picutres are taken over the next day or two.
Because radioactive iodine is used, patients are often given an iodine mixture before the procedure. This prevents the thyroid gland from absorbing too much of the radioisotope, which can damage the thyroid.
Here is an example of an MIBG scan. The darkened areas show that this patient’s neuroblastoma has spread to their liver, salivary glands, and the gallbladder as witnessed by the dark spots in those areas.