How cancer can destroy a whole family


A Brazilian father who lost all three of his children to cancer has tragically passed away from the same disease.

Regis Feitosa Mota, 53, and his children learned in 2016 that they all had Li-Fraumeni syndrome, or LFS. Of the patients, 90 percent of men and 70 percent of women develop cancer during their lifetime.

The economist, who comes from Fortaleza in the northeast of the country, had already battled cancer three times. But in January of this year, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma – a cancer that affects white blood cells.

Eight months later, he died, leaving behind his wife Mariella, who said the pain was “indescribable” and that she had been confident he would overcome the illness.

Their youngest daughter Beatriz died in 2018, aged 10, of leukemia, while their son Pedro died in 2020, aged 22, after a brain tumour. Their eldest Anna Carolina died last year at age 25 after also being diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Pictured above is father Regis Feitosa Mota, from Fortaleza in northeastern Brazil, with his three children. They all died of cancer. The youngest Beatriz died of leukemia in 2018 at the age of 10. His son Pedro died of a brain tumor in 2020 at the age of 22 and his daughter Anna Carolina, 25, died of a brain tumor last year. She had previously battled leukemia

Mr Mota, 53, revealed in January that he had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma - or a cancer that affects white blood cells

He died eight months later after treatment.  His wife Mariella said the pain was

Mr Mota, 53, revealed in January that he had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma – or a cancer that affects white blood cells. He died eight months later after treatment. His wife Mariella said the pain was “indescribable” because she was sure he would beat it

LFS is a condition believed to affect at least one in 20,000 families, and possibly even one in 5,000 families.

Up to 50,000 Americans are believed to have the condition, according to the National Health Institutes.

The disease is diagnosed through a genetic test with scientists warning that it can cause cancer at any time, although it is more likely to happen at a younger age.

It is caused by a mutation in the TP53 gene, which plays a critical role in preventing cancer development by regulating cell division and promoting programmed cell death when DNA damage is detected.

People with LFS are most likely to suffer cancers in the bones, muscles and connective tissues, as well as breast cancer, brain tumors, leukemia and cancer in the adrenal gland.

But a range of other cancers have also been discovered in patients, including lung cancer, kidney cancer and cancer of the intestinal tract.

Mr Mota was first diagnosed with cancer in 2016 when he was told he had chronic lymphocytic leukemia – a cancer of the white blood cells in the bone marrow.

In 2021, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma – a cancer in the lymph system, a circulatory system that moves fluid throughout the body.

This year he was diagnosed with his third cancer.

At the time he said: “We have discovered another disease.

‘We have already treated lymphocytic leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which have now stabilized. But… they are not cured.

“This time we discovered multiple myeloma, which even affects the bones.”

He was hospitalized late last month and died two weeks later on August 13 – Father’s Day in the South American country.

He was cremated the next day in his hometown.

In tribute to her husband, his widow Mariella Pompeu said, “My friends, I never thought I would make this post.

“I never prepared for this moment because I was always convinced that Regis would make a full recovery.

“It’s an indescribable pain. The ground has opened up and I don’t know what life will be like without his affection, companionship and absolute love.”

Pictured above is Mr. Mota with his two children Pedro and Anna Carolina.  All three have since died of cancer

Pictured above is Mr. Mota with his two children Pedro and Anna Carolina. All three have since died of cancer

His brother Rogério Feitosa Mota said: ‘Our warrior went to meet his children on Father’s Day.

‘May God take you, my brother! We love you so much.’