UK Mom Detects Son’s Rare Cancer Using Smartphone Flash

The doctors confirmed the three-month-old baby was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of eye cancer.
UK Mom Detects Son’s Rare Cancer Using Smartphone Flash (Representational image: Unsplash)
UK Mom Detects Son’s Rare Cancer Using Smartphone Flash (Representational image: Unsplash)

A woman in the UK discovered her son’s rare form of cancer by using the smartphone flash.

This incident occurred in November 2022. Sarah Hedges is a support worker and a mother of four from Gillingham, Kent. One evening in November 2022, while she was cooking dinner in the kitchen, her gaze fell upon her three-month-old son Thomas. She discovered a white glow in her son’s eye, reminiscent of a cat’s eye reflection. She immediately used her smartphone flashlight and took images of the peculiar glow.

This 40-year-old mother in her initial attempt, was unable to find the white glow again, so she experimented to confirm whether the white glow was a mere trick of light or not. She moved her son around different rooms, near lightning, and saw the white glow again.

Concerned over her son’s condition she turned over to the internet in search of answers. Her Internet search results show that there is a possibility of cancer. Sarah took more pictures and visited a doctor, who referred her to Midway Hospital for further assessment.

The doctors confirmed the three-month-old baby was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of eye cancer. It affects babies and young children.

Sarah narrated the entire situation. She said that the doctor called them back into his room to discuss the results. She was in the bathroom, and when she came out, he was waiting for her. She knew then it wasn't good news. She thought no doctor waits for someone outside of the toilet. He said that it was not good news.

Thomas was referred to the Royal London Hospital. Starting from November 2022, Sarah's son has undergone six rounds of chemotherapy including a bout of sepsis, her son completed his final round of chemotherapy sessions on April 6, 2023, and on May 10, 2023, he was declared cancer-free.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, Retinoblastoma is a type of eye cancer and it is the most common childhood eye cancer.(Representational Image: Pixabay)
According to the Cleveland Clinic, Retinoblastoma is a type of eye cancer and it is the most common childhood eye cancer.(Representational Image: Pixabay)

Hedges said that her son Thomas is recovering well. She described her son as a cheeky little boy, who was immersed in playful antics with his siblings, denoting a remarkable journey from diagnosis to recovery.

Sarah Hedges calls attention to vigilance and awareness, especially regarding childhood cancer symptoms. Organizations like CHECT (Childhood Eye Cancer Trust) emphasize the importance of recognizing the subtle signs like the white glow in Thomas’s eye and exhorting early detection and treatment to save lives. In Thomas’s case, swift action and timely treatment showed expectations for a brighter and cancer-free future.

UK Mom Detects Son’s Rare Cancer Using Smartphone Flash (Representational image: Unsplash)
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Retinoblastoma is a type of eye cancer and it is the most common childhood eye cancer. It occurs when cells in the retina at the back of the eye multiply uncontrollably. Early detection of symptoms like white or pale-colored eye pupils called leukocoria is especially seen in eye reflection in photographs. It can happen in one or both of the eyes. This condition is treated by chemotherapy, radiation therapy, focal therapies, and surgeries.

References:

1. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/retinoblastoma

(Input from various sources)

(Rehash/Lavanya Beeraboina)

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