8-Year-Old Girl Battles Ovarian Cancer

Chemotherapy is over 90 percent effective at treating germ cell tumors, even if it has spread to lymph nodes, according to Wolf.

"The one ovary is removed that's affected and doesn't necessarily mean infertility," said Wolf. In July 2011, Natalie's surgeons removed her right ovary and right fallopian tube.

"There wasn't a doubt in my mind [to do the surgery] because when you're told that your daughter has cancer and that's what's going to treat it, you do it," said Cosman. "I put her in the palm of the doctors."

Natalie also had her gall bladder removed as part of her treatment. Six rounds of chemotherapy followed, and by January 2012, Natalie completed treatment for the disease.

"I feel a lot better besides all that stuff," said Natalie.

"To this day she jokes that her right side is lighter than her left," said Cosman.

While the disease is rare in young girls, Cosman warned parents not to ignore pain symptoms in their children.

Potential signs of the disease in young girls include a lump that can be felt in the abdominal area, severe abdominal or lower back pain, and prolonged bloating or constipation, Wolf said.

In many cases, the disease goes undetected until either the parent or child notices a protruding mass on the child's abdomen, said Herzog, who sees about three young ovarian cancer patients a year, most of whom are teenagers.

"The mass gets to a critical size where it doesn't fit in the pelvis anymore and protrudes," said Herzog. "That's the thing that triggers most girls to get seen."

The U.S. Preventative Task Force recommends against ovarian cancer screening for women who are not at high risk.

Since it's unclear what type of young girl would be at risk for the disease, Herzog said, "It's too rare to make screening for young girls a reasonable thing."

But if symptoms persist, Herzog recommended that parents take their children to a pediatrician for evaluation.

"I'm very thankful that with everything that happened that we caught it early it enough," said Cosman.

This month, Natalie will return to school and get to attend dance practice again.

"I can't wait," Natalie said.

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