Supporting children and families affected by Hemihyperplasia / Hemihypoplasia
How does someone live with Hemi?
Hemihyperplasia is a key warning to be on the lookout for several kinds of cancers. Because Hemihyperplasia a disorder of the body’s normal controls of growth, it is not surprising that people with this condition can also have a higher rate of cancer. In one study, 168 children with isolated Hemihyperplasis were very carefully followed to try to determine the true rate of cancer in children with this condition. Just under 6% developed childhood tumors (American Journal of Medical Genetics, 1998; 79:274–278). The most common cancer is Wilms’tumor (of the kidney), followed by adrenal carcinoma and liver cancer (hepatoblastoma).
Sadly, Hemihyperplasia often not looked for and not diagnosed until after the cancer has been discovered. Since children with this disorder are at an increased risk for certain types of abdominal cancers, they follow a strict screening protocol; every 6 weeks blood tests and every 3 months abdominal scans until the age of 7 (some believe in reducing blood draws once child reaches the age of 3). As children with Hemihyperplasia grow, the discrepancy between the two sides increases, but the relative proportions between the two sides usually remains the same over the long haul. Variations are found among different children, but in most children, the discrepancy about doubles between the first and fifth birthdays.
What happens when someone has Hemi?
What is Hemihyperplasia/Hemihypoplasia?
Hemihypoplasia is very similar to Hemihyperplasia as it still carries the traits of greater-than-normal asymmetry between the right and left sides of the body, but it is an undergrowth condition. It can occur as part of a genetic syndrome known as Russell-Silver Syndrome.
The next most immediate concerns are the orthopedic problems that result from any leg-length discrepancy. Over time, scoliosis, or curvature of the spine, commonly develops. This disappears when the leg lengths are equalized, either with surgery or with special shoes or lifts. Close contact with a skilled pediatric orthopedist is a must.
In adulthood asymmetry of the limbs can interfere with the proper function of their bodies, bones and joints and can cause pain. Insecurities due to disfigurement are possible and can be addressed through support groups or therapy. Adults with Hemihyperplasia often report back, hip and neck pain. Since adults with Hemihyperplasia have grown up with the condition, they usually know how to manage discomfort on their own.