A rare eye cancer was detected in a five-and-a-half-month-old baby when his mother observed an unusual occurrence while watching him on a baby monitor.
She noticed a stark contrast in the appearance of his eyes through the monitor; Whilst one eye reflected light back, the other eye appeared to be entirely black.
At first, she assumed that the distinct eye colours were a result of an issue with the monitor. However, when Benny’s grandmother also commented on the cloudiness of his eye under specific lighting conditions, the family were prompted to schedule an appointment with a paediatrician who was able to confirm the retinoblastoma following an MRI.
Physicians successfully treated the cancer without invasive surgery. Instead, doctors opted for a more targeted approach by injecting the chemo directly into the tumour site.
They carefully employed a micro-catheter (a slender tube comparable in thickness to a thread) into an artery in Benny’s leg and navigated through his body to reach the tumour in his eye, allowing for the precise delivery of chemotherapy directly into the affected area.
Sounds OUCH! Yes. But doing this managed to preserve most of Benny’s eyesight in his left eye (the eye that appeared as a dark void on the monitor). Benny’s mother, who prefers to remain anonymous, mentioned that while he still grappled with vision-related challenges, her son is happy, healthy and in full recovery.
Dr. Matthew Dietz, a paediatric oncologist at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, emphasises the importance of parents being vigilant for similar indicators in their children, advising them to take notice of photos, videos, and other visual records where one eye exhibits an unusual luminosity compared to the other.
Benny’s mother told KUTV:
“The cancer was caught early. However, looking back now and knowing what I am looking for, I can see the “glow” (in Benny’s eye) as early as three months old.
I had never heard of retinoblastoma before and if this story somehow comes up when the next worried parent “Googles” about their kid, then me missing it for three months was worth something to someone else.”
Retinoblastoma, although an infrequent occurrence, stands as the most prevalent form of childhood eye cancer, with roughly 300 cases identified annually.
This condition predominantly affects infants between the ages of two and three, but the prognosis is promising, boasting a survival rate of 96 per cent.
The reason behind its prevalence among children lies in a genetic mutation associated with the eye’s developmental process, making it more common in this innocent demographic.
As if we needed any more reasons to take photos of our munchkins, we now have a healthy excuse to take more!
Sharing this article with some new parents might save a life!👇
Over the span of several months, Benny underwent periodic treatments administered through this catheter, with intervals of a few weeks between each session.
Despite the challenges, Benny’s mother attested that her son displayed remarkable resilience. Although he experienced bouts of sickness for several days following the chemotherapy as expected, he consistently wore a smile and engaged positively with his excellent team of doctors and nurses.
He’s now a happy, giggly and playful little 18-month-old with the world chanting his name, while he learns to let go of tests and needles, and can now focus more on being a free child.
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