"I detected my son's rare cancer using flash on my mobile phone" | SWNS

A mum detected her son's rare cancer using the flash on her mobile phone camera.

Sarah Hedges, 40, was cooking shepherd's pie for dinner when she looked across at son Thomas, three-months-old, and saw a "white glow" in his eye.

The mum-of-four said it was reflecting the light "like a cat's eye" and took photos with the flash turned on using her phone to see if she could spot it again.

She Googled what she saw - and reports said he might have cancer - so she showed the photos to her GP.

Test confirmed Sarah's suspicions and he was diagnosed with retinoblastoma - a rare and aggressive form of eye cancer that affects babies and young children.

He had chemotherapy and is now stable.

Sarah, a support worker, from Gillingham, Kent, said: "I thought my son was going to die.

"I thought I was going to lose him, when you hear the word cancer you automatically think of the worse - this can be life-threatening.

"I just wanted to be swallowed up and someone to tell me that it was a bad dream and that I would wake up in a minute.

"My world just fell apart. I just sobbed he just kept talking and holding my hand trying to comfort me."

Sarah was cooking dinner for her three other children, Beth, 21, Dillan, 16, and Lucas, eight, in November 2022 when she noticed the glow.

Sarah said: "I noticed his eye looked like a cat's eye.

"I couldn't see it again so then I wondered whether it was just the lighting.

"It was playing on my mind, so the next day I moved Thomas around in different rooms near lighting and eventually, I saw it again.”  

"I remembered years ago seeing something about a flash on the camera, but I had no idea what it was for or where I saw it, so I took some photos of his eye using the flash.

"When I Googled it, it came up with cancer."

After five days, Sarah finally got through to a GP and booked an appointment.

The GP didn't seem worried but referred Thomas to Medway Hospital after seeing a picture of the white glow in his eye.

He was diagnosed with eye cancer.

Recalling being given the news, Sarah said: "The doctor called us back into his room to discuss the results, I was in the bathroom.

"When I came out, he was waiting for me, I knew then it wasn't good news, no doctor waits for someone outside the toilet do they?

“Before he said anything I asked, 'Is it cancer?' and he said, I'm sorry it's not good news."

Thomas was referred to the Royal London Hospital, and had six rounds of chemo, starting November 2022.

And after battling sepsis, he finished his final round of chemotherapy on April 6, 2023 and rang the bell on May 10, 2023.

Sarah said that Thomas is recovering well and is a "cheeky little boy".

She said: “Thomas is a very happy little boy. He loves playing with his older brother rough and tumble on the floor."

The Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT) says that typical signs of retinoblastoma include a white glow which may only appear in certain lights or a squint, as well as a change in the appearance of the eye or a swollen eye, although often only one sign or symptom is present.

Richard Ashton, chief executive, said: “Symptoms can be quite subtle, and children often seem well in themselves which can make it hard to diagnose. In just under half of all cases, a child must have an eye removed as part of their treatment.”    
Richard adds, “We are grateful that in Thomas’ case, his symptoms were recognised so that he could receive treatment.

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Дата на публикация: 28 февруари, 2024
Категория: Друго
Ключови думи: On My Flash Mobile phone Rare Son's using cancer detected SWNS

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