A mother has urged parents to “trust their instincts” after a small change to her toddler’s eye turned out to be a rare cancer that resulted in his death.
Jessica Neal and her husband, Lee, initially thought their baby, Ted, had rubbed sand into his eye at the beach when it looked different while they were on holiday in August last year.
“I couldn’t put my finger on what was different about it: it wasn’t inflamed or sore, but it was starting to look like it was protruding,” the 35-year-old said.
“Throughout the week it was gradually becoming more obvious, and when I pointed it out to Lee he could see it too.”
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Tests revealed that their infant had a cancerous tumour in one of his sinuses, which was so rare that it did not have a name until January this year.
He had chemotherapy and surgery, but the cancer spread to his brain and down his spinal cord.
Ted died in April this year aged 16 months.
His mother said she was glad she trusted her instincts and went to hospital when she did, even though she expected to be told it was nothing.
“I think we would have lost him sooner if I hadn’t. It gave us that eight months with him,” said Ms Neal, who is from Calverton in Nottinghamshire.
“His eye hadn’t swelled that much when I took him in, but I just had a feeling: within a week his face had completely changed and we had the diagnosis.”
Doctors said Ted had an unspecified sarcoma, which has now been named as mesenchymal chondrosarcoma, in his ethmoid sinus.
“He battled so hard and he was such a happy boy through it all. Sadly, he lost his life when the cancer spread to his brain, but we’ll have those eight months of memories forever,” his mother said.
She added: “I would urge anyone to trust their instincts if they think something is wrong, even if it just gives you peace of mind.”
Additional reporting by agencies