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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Disappearing or sporadic "flashes" of white in a child's eye could be a symptom of cancer, a leading charity, the Childhood Eye Cancer Tr ust, warns.

White flashes in child's eye may be cancer, charity warns
Article in the Telegraph


"The alert came after a mother from Manchester saved the life of a baby girl by spotting signs she could have the disease in a photograph.

The flash from the camera bounced off the tumour in one-year-old Rowan Santos's eye, forming an unusual white shadow in the snap.

Madeleine Robb, 32, who has no medical training and who has never met the child but was sent pictures of her over the internet, spotted the marking.

After research on the web she emailed her friend Megan Santos, also 32, to advise her to take her daughter to the doctor, where she was diagnosed with the disease.

Although symptoms of the tumour can be visible as an odd-looking white pupil, The Childhood Eye Cancer Trust warned parents not to ignore occasional flashes of white or yellow in their children's eyes, and said that could be a sign of the same cancer.

In unnatural lighting the light can bounce off the tumour in much the same way as a camera flash, revealing its presence.

However, as the tumour, a rare type of cancer called retinoblastoma, could be quite small and children's heads move frequently, it is often spotted as just a flicker of discolouration.

The same effect would not be visible in daylight, the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust warned."

"Rowan is now having chemotherapy and doctors say that the quick action of her mother's friend could have saved her life, though she will lose an eye."