Saturday 3 December 2016

Mum discovers her toddler’s tumour after camera flash revealed abnormality

Published 19/05/2015 | 11:52

Zak Sutherland being held by his father John Sutherland
Zak Sutherland being held by his father John Sutherland
Zak's mother spotted warning signs that her toddler had cancer behind his eye thanks to an iPhone picture taken during a fun day out. Photo: PRESS ASSOCIATION
Zak's mother spotted warning signs that her toddler had cancer behind his eye thanks to an iPhone picture taken during a fun day out. PRESS ASSOCIATION

A 20-month-old boy was diagnosed with a rare cancer of the eye after a camera’s flash alerted his mum to an abnormality.

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While looking back at Christmas photographs, mum Stacey Sutherland noticed that one of her son Zac’s pupils showed up white in front of the flashing camera.

Stacey from Tyne and Wear, became concerned about the pictures and after consulting doctors, one-year-old Zac was diagnosed with rare eye cancer retinoblastoma which affects children under five.

"We went on the Polar Express and I noticed his left eye had a flashing white mark," said Mrs Sutherland speaking to The Telegraph.

"I went through the other symptoms, as he also had a twitch, and I knew something wasn't right."

The full-time mother to Evan, six, Tyler, four, Jonah, three, and Zak revealed that she had an instinct that there was something amiss.

Zak's mother spotted warning signs that her toddler had cancer behind his eye thanks to an iPhone picture taken during a fun day out. Photo: PRESS ASSOCIATION
Zak's mother spotted warning signs that her toddler had cancer behind his eye thanks to an iPhone picture taken during a fun day out. Photo: PRESS ASSOCIATION
Zak Sutherland being held by his father John Sutherland

"Everyone patted me on the back. When we attended our first appointment we were told they don't usually spot tumours that small and they didn't usually detect them until they were much further gone.

"They found Zak's so quickly and they were overjoyed they could do something to help. If we had waited to get him checked out it would have been a different story. He might not have been able to keep his eye. It was a big relief."

Zac is currently undergoing laser eye treatment and chemotherapy to combat the tumour.

Less than 50 children in the UK are diagnosed with retinoblastoma and although chances of survival are quite high 70pc of those diagnosed need to have their eye removed to save their life.

Joy Felgate Chief Executive of the UK’s Child Care Cancer Trust said: “If you take a picture from a 15 degree angle it can catch the optic nerve which shows up as a peachy colour, but this showed up cloudy white, and that was worrying.”

“This kind of tumour grows quite quickly and if we had waited he might have lost his eye.”

“If you are concerned, get it checked. It doesn’t take much to determine if there’s something wrong.

“Zak has managed to keep his eye, all because he got checked early enough,” she said.

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