A TODDLER has finally lost her “Batman” birthmarks after two years of surgery with doctors in Russia.
They say Luna Tavares-Fenner, two, has been cured of the birthmark using pioneering medical methods that are not available in the US, where she lives.
Now she will fly home for Christmas, and return in the New Year for cosmetic treatment.
Dr Pavel Popov, who has treated Luna, said: “Luna has already started speaking and she says: ‘My black spot has gone. I am a princess’.”
Luna was born with the condition congenital melanocytic nevus which had covered her face with a dark blemish since birth.
Her parents Caroline Fenner, 37, and Thiago Tavares, 33, said they adored their “beautiful” girl.
But they said Luna had her “fair share of looks, stares, whispers and finger-pointing”, with one cruel woman calling her a “monster”.
It was Luna’s extra risk of skin cancer that drove her parents to seek treatment early on.
Her type of birthmark may give her an increased risk of the most serious type of skin cancer, melanoma.
Melanoma linked with these large birthmarks is difficult to treat and the survival rate is low, MedlinePlus reports. There is an earlier risk of it developing during childhood.
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Caroline said she was faced a tough decision to bring Luna over to Russia and undergo the treatments with people telling her she was "crazy" to travel all that way and undergo the expensive treatments.
But she said: "I wanted to avoid the aggressive surgeries that I was seeing with the other doctors in the US."
Caroline and Thiago raised $69,700 (£52,800) for their daughter’s treatment at a clinic in Krasnodar – a Russian city close to Ukraine.
They also had the support of an anonymous Russian donor who they called “miracle”.
Dr Popov got to work in 2019 and said this week: “We only had six operations to remove the nevus and have succeeded in making it disappear.
“The main medical part of the task is done. This does not mean that we have finished treatment at all.
“We are letting Luna rest from the treatment she has undergone and then we will undertake the aesthetic surgeries.
“Later we aim to make sure Luna will not have any complexes when she comes to the age where she is concerned about her appearance.”
Dr Popov has no hesitation in saying the treatment was a “success” and he is “completely satisfied with the result”.
He said: “Luna is very loyal to us.
“Often there is an aversion to the medical staff. Children are afraid of doctors.
“But Luna brings her dolls to the appointment every time – and asks me to treat their faces.
“I attach a plaster to the doll's face. Luna is happy that the doll is also treated.
“I guess the lack of pain in the treatment allows her to be so loyal.”
Dr Popov said it’s not clear how long the cosmetic part of Luna’s treatment will tae due to obstacles such as the pandemic and visas.
Relieved Caroline said: “Luna is good now. Her bandages are off.
“We're going to fly away for Christmas and come back for the final cosmetic surgeries at the end of January.
“I don’t regret at all having the treatment here. Luna doesn't feel the pain. She dances a few hours after the surgery.”
Surgeries for congenital melanocytic nevus include laser and shave excision.
But Luna had photodynamic therapy, a treatment that involves light-sensitive medicine and a light source to destroy abnormal cells, according to the NHS.
Carolina, a US citizen originally from Brazil, is “really happy” and speaks to other mothers receiving different treatments in the US.
“I spoke to a lot of mothers doing traditional surgeries in the US and they are more susceptible to infections.
“The kids stay in hospital a long time, and undergo general anaesthetics.
“Multiple anaesthetics would have demolished Luna's physical and mental health.
“She had only local.”
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